Josh - Part II
A homophobic young man learns what it is like when his worst nightmare comes true.
Later that day - at an Italian restaurant in town.
“I think we need to talk, baby. Is there something you need to tell me?” Jessica asked.
“Oh no. Not her too,” thought Josh.
“I kept my mouth quiet all the way to the restaurant but, really, Josh, what’s going on?”
“I don’t know what you mean Jess. After dinner, I can hardly wait for ‘our special dessert’ back at my house. My parents have gone away for a few days and we’ll have the hot tub all to ourselves,” purred Josh in his sexiest voice.
“Don’t get ahead of yourself, sport. I want answers and I want them fast. This afternoon I started getting e-mails from all my girl friends telling me about a picture of your new tattoo. I went to Facebook and what did I see? A tribal armband around your bicep? A nautical star on your shoulder? No. I saw a God-damned tramp stamp. Really Josh - tribal scrollwork and a butterfly? A fuckin’ red, orange and pink butterfly?”
I was sitting in a nearby booth. I suppressed a laugh. When I cursed Josh, I had no idea just how perfect and unexplainable the tattoo would be.
Josh did not know how he got the tattoo - he needed a plausible answer. Time for some creative thinking.
“Baby, I am sorry. It was supposed to be a sexy surprise but it all went wrong. A couple of days ago I got the idea to get the tat so I could show you on the weekend. It had been a warm day and I stole a couple of my dad’s beers. With some liquid courage, I went to the tattoo studio. I guess I had too much to drink. When they asked what tattoo I wanted, I thought I saw a Marine Corps logo on the wall and pointed at it. I took off my shirt, laid face down on the table and fell asleep. When they roused me, I learned that the tattoo had been placed on my lower back rather than my shoulder and that the Marine Corps logo was really tribal scrollwork and a faggy butterfly. I talked to the artist right away. There is nothing that can be done about its placement but as soon as it’s healed the artist has agreed to tattoo something more macho over the butterfly.”
“I didn’t think tattoo artists were supposed to work on people if they had been drinking,” said Jessica icily.
“Yeah, you’re right,” said Josh. “I fooled him when I walked in. I can really hold my liquor!”
I was impressed at Josh’s power of improvisation - that lie almost had the ring of truth to it.
“Well, okay,” Jessica said. “I guess that could have happened. But what about your pierced ears and earrings! We had talked about how hot I thought it looked for a guy to have one diamond stud in his right ear. But you wanted none of it. Tonight, when you got to my door, what do I see? First you have a pair - a pair - of quarter-inch, triangular, rainbow-striped ear studs. Beside them there is a small diamond stud in each lobe. And then you have this bar-thing - I think it is called a rook piercing - crossing your left ear - the gay ear. You didn’t have those at school today. I would have seen them. You got these just before coming on this date. Almost like you wanted to announce something to me and the world.”
Josh grabbed his left ear and could feel the earrings. “Fuck” he thought to himself as he rubbed on the little triangle stud. “This has to be some kind of dream,” he thought but he knew it wasn’t. This would be almost impossible to explain away.
“I, uhh, wanted to get some piercings too. I thought you’d like them,” he said meekly wanting to crawl under the table.
“What about those studs, you do know that they are an international symbol for being gay don’t you?” said Jess in a bitchy tone of voice. The look on her face was one of disbelief.
“Gay,” he thought. He had heard that word so often today - gay thong, gay tattoo, gay tan lines, gay earrings. That was the common thread linking these events but what was underneath it all? No time to dwell on that, he needed another convincing lie.
“Really, baby. I had no idea. I wanted to look sexy for you. The piercer suggested them. He said some character on your favorite television show, One Tree Hill, wore these earrings. He said they would look fierce - or something like that. I know how much you like that show. I thought you’d like them on me. If you don’t, I’ll just go to the bathroom and remove them. No harm done.” Josh was pleased with his quick thinking.
Jessica’s bitchy tone did not improve. “Was that supposed to make me feel better? First, you said ‘he’ suggested the earrings. Since when did you ever ask a man for any advice on your appearance? Before today, you never listened to my suggestions at all. And you want me to believe you just casually accepted advice from a man who you did not know? Really Josh, if he is your boyfriend - just admit it.”
Jessica was just getting started. “Second, when did you ever watch One Tree Hill? You always called the male actors on that show - how did you phrase it - a bunch of fudge-packing fairies. And now you want me to believe you wanted to wear an earring just to act like them. Are you a fudge-packing fairy now?”
Josh could not believe what he was hearing. How could such a simple lie get so out of control? He also wondered, just for a second, if he was feeling like other gay young men being tormented at school. What was that kid’s name at school - John or Jim or Jack? Did he feel so trapped by his bullying?
“And third, if you really had those piercings done today, you would have been told to not touch them for 72 hours until they are healed. Looking at these piercings, I don’t see any redness. It looks like these holes are all well-healed. If I had to bet, I would guess these piercings are several weeks old. You might not have been wearing the jewelry to school but it looks like you wore it the rest of the time. That’s how you can so casually offer to remove the jewelry now. It is also why I think you inserted it tonight so you could tell me you wanted to break up and chase some male fuck buddy.”
“No baby. You are wrong. I love you. I only want to play with you. I have no interest in guys at all. I am 100% straight. No way I am gay.” That seemed a little too strong to Josh but he really wanted to nip this thing in the bud. If he could not convince his own girlfriend, the girl he routinely made out with, how could he convince the rest of the world that he wasn’t gay?
“Save it Josh. I haven’t even mentioned your hair,” replied Jessica.
“My hair?” thought Josh. “Oh no, now what else has happened to me. Please, dear God, make it stop.”
“I saw you at school today and your brown hair was its usual tomboyish mess. We’ve talked about different hair styles but your reply has been that if you cannot comb it with your fingers, you didn’t want it. So how do you explain this?” she said. She reached into her purse and pulled out her make-up kit. She fished out a mirror and handed the whole kit to Josh.
“I don’t even know how to describe your hair. You had someone buzz the sides of your head leaving nothing but dark brown stubble. The hair running down the middle of your head has been bleached platinum blond. You had to have used some styling mud to form the shape of a faux hawk. How did you have the time for this - I would guess two hours in the stylist’s chair - and time for the piercings too - like you said? I am guessing your boyfriend - the hair stylist/piercer - is behind your new look. You would never have done something like this for me.” Jessica burst into tears. “You bastard. Just admit it. Admit to me that you are gay. Tell me that you crave cock. My boobs do nothing for you anymore.”
Josh stared into the little mirror. “How the hell did this happen? Brown hair does not just turn platinum blond,” he thought. He turned his head and moved the mirror. His fingers brushed the bristly sides of his head. He knew he hadn’t visited a barber. His hair was normal when he finished PE class with Mike and Ryan. He moved the mirror and inspected the back of his head. The blond hair extended into his shirt collar like a tail. It was so blond, it was almost white. He sighed as he looked at his reflection.
“I don’t believe it. My supposedly straight, macho boyfriend is checking his hair like some EMO tween at the mall. And for goodness sakes, lower your hands. If you swish any more, every gayboy on the block will come running.”
Josh tossed the mirror into the make-up kit and lowered his hands. He had no explanation for his hair and he had no time. He was a little light-headed and was starting to hyper-ventilate. Thanks to me, an idea popped into his head.
“I, uh, gotta take a piss,” he blurted as he abruptly left the table and almost ran to the bathroom. That was my cue to head to the bathroom too. When I entered, Josh was splashing cold water on his face. He looked up as I entered and a moment of recognition passed through his face.
“Heya, Jason isn’t it? Do I look normal to you?”
“Uh, the name is Jack. As for looking ‘normal’, I think that depends. You sure look different from PE class today. Very fashion-forward. To be honest, if I didn’t know you were straight, I’d have guessed you were a gay club kid. Your clothes aren’t quite right. But I can see from the sink ledge that you brought your make-up kit with you to the bathroom - maybe to highlight your cheekbones. You aren’t my type. I like my guys a bit more manly.”
“Omigod, Omigod, I am so-o-o-o manly”, Josh said in a whiny voice that suddenly sounded anything but. “Why do I sound so gay? What am I going to do? My world is falling apart. People think I am gay and that isn’t normal,” said Josh.
“What do you mean?” I asked. “You look fine. And to be clear, being gay is being normal. When I came out, you constantly bullied me. You tried to make me feel that something was wrong with me. Well being gay is not wrong. Being gay IS normal. It isn’t normal hating people for something like who they love. You and I know you aren’t really gay. You may have seemed to change today but all those changes are superficial. Don’t like your hair, let it grow out. Don’t like the piercings, remove them. Want hair on your arms and legs, stop shaving them? I don’t see any of your changes as being permanent. But being gay, that lasts a lifetime.”
I watched Josh closely. My sermon seemed to have an effect on him. “I may be able to help you, Josh, but I want you to apologize first. If you are sorry for bullying me and promise not to bully me in the future, I think I can help.”
Josh stared in the bathroom mirror. He seemed to reflect on my words while also looking at the horror of his changed appearance. “Hey man, Jack, I am sorry.”
The words were sweet music to my ears.
“I am sorry that I just wasted these last three minutes listening to you whine. This isn’t about you. It’s about me. I didn’t bully you - it’s called needling. You need to man up and be less sensitive. Or be less out. God you queers want everyone feeling ‘pride’ or something. Why can’t you just keep that perverted sex stuff to yourself? The problem isn’t you; it’s me. Are you going to help a buddy or not?”
I was livid. He still hadn’t learned a lesson. “After all you’ve done to me, you expect me to help you? I’ll make this simple for you - you give me an honest apology for what you have done and promise me it won’t happen again and I think I can help. Otherwise, get the fuck out of this bathroom. I wish you would turn into the biggest queen the world has ever seen for all I care. I’ve gotta take a leak. You had better get out of this bathroom, Mr. Thongman. You don’t want to see my queer dick when I take it out of my tighty whities.”
Josh’s determination took hold. He wasn’t sure what he would say to Jessica but he would rather face her than hang around this fag one more second. He grabbed the make-up kit from the sink and marched from the bathroom to the booth. He sat down and took Jessica’s hands in his own. He looked her in the eyes and started speaking. “Baby? Sweetie? I don’t know exactly what has been happening today. You’re right. I can’t really explain it. The more I try, the crazier this gets. But I know this. I love you. I want us to go back to my house, get naked, get in the hot tub and have sweet sex all night long. What d’ya say baby? Will you let my actions speak louder than words?”
Jessica recoiled when he finished speaking. She jerked her hands away from him and stood up from the booth. “You want actions to speak louder than words. What you did in that bathroom over the last five minutes tells me everything I want to know. My macho boyfriend runs into the bathroom with my make-up kit. And what does he do while in there? Well let me count what I see. One, I don’t know how you did it but you tweezed your eyebrows into two thin dark lines. Two, you applied eyeliner and mascara to your upper and lower eyelashes. Three, you used my sparkle blush on your cheekbones and upper eyelids. It even looks like you dusted some on your arms and chest - like a true glitter queen. And four, you applied a thick coat of pink cotton candy gloss to your lips. You must have used some plumping serum too as you have dick sucking lips now. Your actions sure speak louder than words. You are gay. You are a queen. You are addicted to cock. Maybe you even sucked some dick while in the bathroom. I saw that Justin or Jason, that gay boy from school, slip into the bathroom with you. We are done, over, kaput.” She spun on her heels and marched out the door of the restaurant.
I had walked out during the last moments of the fight. I, too, was surprised at the new changes I saw in Josh. That’s when it dawned on me. In my anger, I had deepened the curse. If I didn’t intervene, Josh was going to become gay. Over the top gay. Flamboyantly gay. Effeminate queer man gay.
While Josh realized Jessica had left and wanted to run after her, he was also worried about the latest changes she described. He could feel creaminess on his mouth but “dick-sucking lips” - well, that couldn’t be true. He stood up from the booth and fished the mirror from the make-up kit still sitting on the table. He surveyed the damage to his face. “My God, it was all true.” His face kinda looked like Adam Lambert. What did they call that look? Glon? No, glam. When did this happen?
As he stood there staring, Bradley Cheston approached him. He had been their waiter for this aborted dinner. He had also witnessed every moment of this blow-up. A senior student at a neighboring high school, Bradley had been struggling with his own sexual identity. He was overcome with emotion as he put an arm around Josh’s shoulders. “It’s okay,” Bradley said in a calm, reassuring voice. “You don’t need her. She’s a bitch. We gay boys have to stick together.” He slipped a folded piece of paper with his iPhone number on it into the front pocket of Josh’s jeans. He used his fingers to lightly feel Josh’s dick. It felt great to Bradley.
“I am here for you. I want you to know that it gets better. Coming out to your girlfriend was the hardest part. If you want to go back to your place, we could sit in that hot tub and talk. I am a great listener.” And with a little giggle he added, “I think I heard you say something about some sexy dessert in the hot tub. We could still make that happen.” And then, from nowhere, Bradley hugged Josh. Tightly. Bradley kissed Josh on the lips. His tongue forced its way into Josh’s mouth. Bradley’s hands snaked down Josh’s back and slipped inside the back of his jeans. Bradley’s interest was enhanced when he felt the thong underwear. His hands cupped and caressed Josh’s bare ass cheeks. He wanted to see this boy naked and feel those dick-sucking lips on his cock. Mmmm!
For a minute, Josh was overcome. He found himself kissing back. His one hand snaked inside Bradley’s shirt and found his nipple. He pinched, tweaked, and rolled it between his forefinger and thumb. He felt the nipple getting hard from his touch and he liked that he had caused that reaction. He thought about Bradley’s dick and how it would be getting hard in his pants. He imagined dropping to his knees, unzipping Bradley’s fly, and then sucking on his cock. He could imagine the dick shooting a big load down his throat and him eagerly swallowing the spunk. He could imagine Bradley naked in his bed and …
But then his head cleared. “Shit dude! Get off me! I ain’t no fuckin’ fag,” said Josh as he pushed Bradley away.
Josh was completely grossed out; that dude had just french kissed him. Yuck. He quickly found a napkin and wiped his mouth. If he could, he would have wiped his tongue too. He pulled out the make-up mirror to look at his face and began to fix his makeup. “Damn it,” he said when he realized what he was doing and he threw the mirror on the table.
“I’m sorry man. I just thought, well, umm …” said Bradley his face red with embarrassment. “I mean with clothes like that how could you blame me? No straight boy wears stuff like that.”
Josh hated the sound of those words. How could his clothes have changed? He had on his favourite Abercrombie jeans slung low at the waist, a polo shirt with short sleeves that showed off his biceps, and a pair of faded and frayed flip-flops. Jessica always said he looked sexy like that.
He looked down at his clothes. “Fuck” escaped his lips.
His polo shirt was replaced by a tight black, shiny, lycra tank top with a picture of a baseball catcher on the front. The significance of that was lost on Josh. It was short too - just barely covering his pecs and exposing his tight and tanned abs. His loose jeans were gone as well. He now wore an extremely tight pair of dark blue skinny jeans so low the top of his pink thong (wasn’t it white before?) was visible. Nearly a dozen braided hemp bracelets were on his right arm. And if you looked at his left ankle, you would have seen a dainty gold chain engraved with the words “hot stuff.”
Josh freaked when he saw that his fingernails and toenails were now painted a deep blue. And his fingernails had little flower designs on top of the polish.
Josh grabbed the stuff on the table, including the makeup kit, and headed for the door.
“Call me, man, if you need someone to talk to,” said Bradley as Josh fled the restaurant leaving not only Bradley but me behind. I shook my head at what I saw. I had wanted my curse to have an impact on Josh. Now that I had lost my temper and deepened the curse I was worried that things were spiralling out of control. Josh’s changes were happening much more quickly. More worrying, I was not making the changes happen - they seemed to be happening all on their own. I had no idea where this would lead or end.