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Patricia Nell Warren


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Billy's Boy

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Billy's Boy
By Patricia Nell Warren (1997)

ISBN: 096410993X

The sequel to Harlan's Race and The Front Runner

Add to cart Paperback 5" x 8" | List Price: $18.95

Chapter One | Liner Notes | Author Notes | History | Reviews |

Chapter 1

Micky's was this little video dance club on the West Hollywood strip.

Every Wednesday they had baby night — $2 cover, no liquor, nobody over 18, house music, closing at 9, which gave you an hour to get home before curfew.

Teak told me about his adventures at Micky's. He never met anybody there, but he always went back because it was home. He'd tell his parents he and Elena were going to the movies. Elena would tell her parents the same lie. Then he and Elena would leave home in normal clothes, with voguey party rags in their backpacks. They'd ride the bus from Highland Park into West L.A. When they got off the bus, they'd find a dumpster or a hedge to hide behind, and jump in their vogues. Then they'd go to Micky's. Elena would hang with girls, and Teak would try to hang with boys. They took turns watching each other's backpacks. Elena found cool girls to dance with. Teak had to dance alone. Black and Mexican boys didn't like fat boys any more than white boys did. Teak's heart got broken every weekend. But he kept going back. You could catch a big crowd and a lot of high energy at Micky's at quarter to nine. By 10, Elena and Teak would be back in Highland Park. They made sure they could talk about the movie they'd "seen." Their parents bought the lie totally.

Now we told our all-controlling adults that we wanted to go to baby night at Micky's.

"Be home by curfew," the adults said.

Ana, the Queen of Malibu, turned her hair loose and wore her best designer jeans and her silver-hanger earring. Teak jumped into vogue — sparkly gold tank-top and patent leather dance shoes. His velvet pants, that his aunt Nancy got him, made his butt look a light-year wide. Elena had a red satin shirt that she'd bought at a thrift store, and platform shoes.

She sat in front of Teak and and did his face. He kept his makeup in his own secret box. I had never seen a guy wear makeup, so I was in shock. Teak glowed as Elena put the last swipe of mascara on his eyelashes. My homely fat buddy actually looked like a star.

"You are soooo glamorous," Elena told Teak. She kissed him on the cheek, then stuck her diamond bead in the side of her nose.

"I am the soul of (snap, snap, snap, snap) glama!" Teak said. He looked at me.

"I'm not your date, okay?" I said. "Youre the fruta who wants to go to the fruta club. And we're your bodyguards, okay?"

"Yeah," said Ana, "we're doing this for you, stupid."

"Don't diss him now." Elena gave us a gangsta glare.

I dressed like I felt — Orange County straight boy going to a WeHo club to look for fading light from his gay tather, and wanting to be invisible. That meant old jeans, Star Wars T-shirt, Nikes, and a new baseball cap that Mom gave me, that said "Clinton in '92." The bill was frontwards so ethnic dudes wouldn't think I was an enemy homeboy. With the bathroom door locked, I gave myself a cadet glare and trimmed my eyelashes super-short. We had gofered for a Valhalla commercial shoot, so we had $50 to spend.

Elena had a few secret pills of Ecstasy in her jeans pocket.

"Oh my, we are gonna jam," Teak said as we headed for the Boulevard.

Elena and Teak did Ecstasy before I could stop them. Ana looked at me, like asking for my permission. I shook my head "no" and set my watch for 9:45. I was in charge of this mission, so I had to keep myself together.

In front of Micky's, the sidewalk was crowded with high school and college students. They were smoking cigarettes and throwing attitude and staring at each other. We lit up our smokes, and stared back. It was the same stuff you see at school dances, except that guys were checking out buys' butts instead of girls' butts. My cheeks squeezed together nervously. Did guys stare at my Dad's butt like this? My stomach was shivering. A few guys were looking at me. A few girls stared at Ana and Elena. Nobody was looking at Teak.

As we headed for the door, this ancient leather troll in a Harley jacket leaned out from his sidewalk table, where he had flyers.

"Play safely, kids," he said, and plopped condoms into our hands.

We shoved the condoms in our pockets and forgot them, as we pushed past the security guys. They were turning back adult men who wanted to go in and pick up kids.

Inside, feeling jittery, Ana and I stayed behind Teak and Elena, the experts, as they pushed through the shoulders, biceps and elbows of white boys, black boys, Mexican boys, Filipino boys, Japanese boys. "Look at all these handsome honeys," Teak hissed in my ear. All of them were horny, and all of them were looking at me.

He grinned and caught my fingers to pull me along.

"Don't hold my effing hand," I hissed back.

"Oh my god, there's Shayla," said Elena.

Her eyes did a missile lock on a tall black girl in a silver cowboy shirt. She left us. Even with those platform shoes, Elena was so short that we couldn't see her pushing through the crowd. All we could see was the ripple she made.

Teak pushed me and Ana past the bartenders serving pop and juice, toward the crowded smoky dance floor. The whole wall behind the dance floor was video screens with the same image. A thousand Madonnas danced and sang "Vogue." The air shuddered with the machine music that Teak listened to in his room. Everybody was grinding and rump-shaking enough to send the Rev. Dwight into a coma.

I had literally never seen two guys dancing together, not even in the movies or TV. So a whole roomful of teenage studs pumping their packages at each other was sending me into shock. Then I was getting hard, and not needing Ecstasy to feel it. I was fighting my own heat. Guys are pure mindless heat with a brain loosely attached. Women, and other guys, and sheep and dogs, are not safe around us. In Costa Mesa, Orik and I knew a horny kid who was always looking for relief. Finally his parents caught him with his German Shepherd. He had smeared peanut butter on his penis, and the dog was licking it off. His parents threw him out. We never did hear what happened to him. The parents kept the dog.

"C'mon...let's vogue," said Teak, pulling me.

"Bodyguards don't dance. Go find somebody."

Teak's cool was starting to melt down. He blurted, "You don't want to dance with me 'cause I'm colored, huh?" Teak stormed off and worked the crowd, asking this guy and that guy. He hung out at the bar for a while. Everybody ignored him. We watched his face get sadder and sadder. Elena was ignoring us, dancing with Shayla. Ana was outraged on Teak's behalf. She hissed in my ear, "You're being mean, and I won't speak to you if you're mean."

"Excuse-me you."

"Then the three of us can dance," Ana said. Always the diplomat.

My piss-off flamed out and I felt bad. So I pulled myself together and went to where Teak was leaning, with his empty pop can. "Look," I said, "don't do the racist stuff with me. If I was racist, I wouldn't let you come in my room."

"Sorry," he said. A tear streaked down his cheek.

"And I don't know why these lame jerks aren't all over you. You look so rad tonight."

"Really!" Teak said sarcastically. "I was starting to think you don't appreciate (snap snap) a big queena like me."

He rubbed away the tear.

"Anyway, buddies are better than a date," I said. "A date might ditch you."

"Like Shayla just ditched Elena," said Ana, watching the black girl leaving alone.

Teak's eyes searched mine. Jesus, he did have nice eyes — so black they were purple. And his nice short eyelashes were to be envied, even with mascara on them. "Buddies?" he said. "Brothers?"

"Yeah." I put out my nand. We shook.

"You'll have to show me how to dance," I said.

"Just do what I do."

"Not where every big queena in the world can watch, though."

Elena came back with a disgusted shrug. So the four of us found a dark corner on the dance floor, with a speaker right in our ears. There Ana faced Elena, and I faced Teak, and Teak started going through the vogue moves like Madonna and her male dancers were doing. I guessed he had been practicing for months, alone in his room with his radio. Elena's dancing was stiff, like a robot, but Teak was fluid.

"Catch the beat. Christ, it's so easy," he said.

I tried.

Teak got frustrated with me. "Stop (snap) that!" Then he went macho again. "Here...let's shadow dance, so you can feel it." He spun me around, pressed behind me, and glommed his big arms around me. "Just relax. God, you're like a broom, or something."

So I leaned back on him stiffly, and Ana leaned on me, and Elena leaned on Ana, and we sandwiched into the beat as a foursome. Teak stood there in place, pumping his body under mine with that vogueing beat. I relaxed and the thump of the music filled me. I held his arms in place around his waist, and Ana held my arms around her. I let his hot sweaty cheek press against my cheek, and pressed my hot sweaty nose against the back of Ana's slippery neck, under her hair, which was getting hotter and wetter by the minute. Her silver-hanger earring almost put my eye out. The floor was packed now — the four of us lost in a mass of sweaty bodies. The whole crowd amped off into the flashing light show and the space-hammer beat.

Did my Dad move like this?

When we got thirsty, we fought our way back to the bear for Cokes, then found space where we could look cool and watch everybody.

Right next to me, a Filipino boy and a white boy were deep-kissing, eyes closed, with their tongues down each other's throats. I stared at them, remembering being at the lake with Shawn. I leaned against the wall. I could feel their body heat and hear their lips sliding. Their elbows brushed me. They were tasting each other's faces with their lips, and the Filipino boy was holding the other's face in his hand. "Oh baby," he whispered.

Then they sank into another kiss, tongues driving deep. I actually watched their tongues sliding. A guy calling a guy baby...

I stared back at the dance floor. So that was what my Dad looked like when he kissed Harlan. He'd probably kissed other guys too. My hard-on was going crazy. Was this how my Dad felt? His feelings were right inside me, bursting into light and shockwaves like a supernova going off with incredible violence and beauty, and this time I wasn't staring at it through some telesopc, I was in the middle of it. This was what I'd wanted to do with Shawn...and now I'd never have the chance.

Suddenly my watch beeped. Jesus, it was late.

"Fifteen minutes to curfew," I said. "Home... on the double."

Billy's Boy - Copyright © 1997 by Patricia Nell Warren. All rights reserved.

Image: Book Cover

Billy's Boy
By Patricia Nell Warren (1997)

ISBN: 096410993X

The sequel to Harlan's Race and The Front Runner

Add to cart Paperback 5" x 8" | List Price: $18.95

Chapter One | Liner Notes | Author Notes | History | Reviews |