Note to the reader: This is a fifth in my “Boy Alone in The Condo For The Weekend” series. It has a lot in common with its predecessors, World’s Record, Apparition, Power Failure, and Star Light, Star Bright, in that Henry is woefully inadequate as a boy, and wants to be a girl. Like all before him, he will get high and experience bizarre and frightening events in the condo.
As before, some readers may not like this story because of its borderline-gay protagonist. However, Henry is more schizophrenic than gay, struggling to accept who/what he is. There is no sex between guys, only between Henry and his imaginary twin Hailey, abetting his mental instability. Girls will probably like the story best.
Another note: The names Henry and Hailey Van Kuren were borrowed from a Law & Order SVU episode called Transitions. (Season 10, Episode 14.) To anyone that remembers the episode, this story will make more sense.
What Hailey was doing was stupid. Not only a school night, but Mom and Dad were still awake. So was Angie, she imagined, and maybe even Katie, her siblings, ages seventeen and eleven. Hailey was 14 years old. It was Thursday, October 23rd. She glanced at the bedside clock: 11:21 p.m.
Her “twin”, Henry was embarrassingly small for a boy. Angie had him by four inches and sixteen pounds. He was not a whole lot bigger than his 11-old sister, in fact. Blonde like Katie, Henry wore his hair buzzed right to the scalp. He was constantly picked on in school, worse now in ninth grade than ever before. At the same time, no one but Kevin Mallory ever menaced him seriously; there was just something about the boy. Girls lovingly teased him, and Henry had this grim blushing problem, making it even worse, egging them on. Girls were the worst. Henry wanted to be a girl.
Hailey lay in his bed, face down, smiling dreamily. She knew this was stupid, but still had Henry’s pajama bottoms and underwear pushed down below her cheeks. Up her rear end was a fairly large dildo. She gripped it tightly with her anus and rectal muscles, and then let them relax. Hailey enjoyed nothing more than a dildo up her behind.
The dildo was not hers. Henry had discovered it secreted in a green backpack tossed to the side of the road in July. In a separate pocket was a heavy-duty Ziploc bag containing two ounces of excellent weed, divided into smaller Ziploc bags of ten grams each. A third baggie contained a dozen packs of Zig-Zag rolling papers. So far, she and Henry had smoked a couple grams of the weed. It was extraordinarily potent stuff. Hailey loved it. So did Henry.
“We are so stupid, doing this,” Hailey murmured.
“We need our effing heads examined,” Henry agreed.
“Scratch my left butt cheek? It itches something awful.”
“No prob,” he said, patting her rear end.
“Stop that,” she grumbled, slapping at his hand. “I asked you to scratch, not cop a feel, pervert.”
Henry laughed, and then scratched her butt cheek as requested.
“Lower,” she directed. “More to the right. Oh, good ... you got it just right now. Don’t stop.” She sighed, and then lifted her head. “Leave the dildo alone, Henry Van Kuren.” She squirmed uncomfortably; Henry chuckled. “Do you want me to leave, Henry?”
“No,” he admitted sheepishly. He liked his sister in bed with him—it was so unbelievably sexy. No--she was so unbelievably sexy. For a girl with no hair, a flat chest, and no vagina, that is. Only...
“Don’t start that again,” she grumbled.
Henry shrugged tightly. “You could at least talk about it, sis.”
“I don’t want to talk about it, dammit. And don’t call me sis. You know I hate that crap.” She tucked herself in tightly. “Don’t ruin our night together, Henry.”
In the morning, Henry tossed aside the covers and sat up. His rear end hurt. He glanced at the closet door and shook his head, thinking what an idiotic move, putting that damned thing up his behind on a school night. He had a death wish on top of being schizophrenic?
He scratched his chest and yawned. He stretched, listening to joints in his shoulders and spine go snap, crackle, and pop. Henry liked a good stretch nearly as much as Hailey liked a stiff pecker up her behind. Too bad Hailey wasn’t here to offer him a nice blowjob now, he thought. He gazed down, imagining her sweet mouth wrapped around his knob, sliding her lips down his shaft, teasing him with her tongue. He got an immediate, dynamite erection.
Struggling to his feet, he went to the dresser, grabbed a pair of shorts from the top drawer, and yanked them on. He normally wore Jockey shorts to school, hating the way boxers left him feeling unsecured down there. Especially in gym.
Thank God Kevin Mallory was in a different gym class this year. Too bad the asshole didn’t attend an entirely different high school, preferably one out of state. A bona-fide asshole, he relentlessly gave Henry a hard time, yet was the only boy Henry’d ever considered wrapping his lips around--if the opportunity ever presented itself, which Henry fervently prayed wouldn’t. Hailey hated the asshole.
He crossed the hall and pushed open the bathroom door, shutting it just as Katie opened her bedroom door and peaked out. “What?” he demanded, opening the door again. She was in her Katy Perry pajamas, the ones Hailey coveted. She blinked, offering up a lopsided grin.
“Don’t use all the hot water, Henry.”
Henry gave her the finger, which made Katie’s grin stretch out full width. “Eff you too,” she mouthed, raising a middle finger of her own. Unlike Angie, this one he got along with fine.
“You still a virgin?” he whispered.
“Like you?” she shot back.
Henry reddened. Being only 11, Katie had justification for her purity status; Henry did not. He had never even kissed a girl, while by her own boastful admissions, Katie had kissed half a dozen boys so far, including one that had taught her to French kiss. Henry kissed only his pillow.
“Hands off,” he warned. Katie’s grin widened even farther. She made a cutting gesture with her right hand. The same boy that taught her how to French kiss also wanted to teach her how to give a blow job and take a fat cock. Henry wanted to punch his lights out. The boy was thirteen, and had no business messing with a girl in 6th grade. Luckily, she had cut him off with a good wrist slapping and that was that. She twiddled her fingers at Henry and closed her bedroom door.
Angie and Katie had bathrooms of their own, which Henry always complained was unfair; given the effing condo had five bathrooms, including the powder room by the front door. Stripping off his T-shirt and tossing it on the floor, he reconsidered: a dedicated bathroom would mean he’d have to clean the effing thing, instead of that being the maid’s responsibility. He’d bet Hailey would have her own bathroom, though. So unfair.
“Do not use all the hot water,” Angie warned through the door with a thump. He jumped, reflexively lofting a finger in response to her admonition. Effing bitch.
Angie harassed him mercilessly. She loved making him panic, doing shit like opening the door while he sat on the pot or went pee. He looked down, wishing the bowl was her effing mouth. A mouth he wouldn’t mind fucking, actually. Hands behind her back, tied at the wrists with her own brassiere. On her knees in her underwear and bra, like the boy he’d watched having his mouth fucked over the weekend. No way did he believe that boy was eighteen, by the way; he looked no older than Henry. In fact, he looked a lot like Henry, right down to his pitiful cock and minuscule balls.
Henry locked the door, stripped off his shorts, and tossed them atop his T-shirt. He had the smallest cock in the school, he thought, barely 4” long with a Guinness-sized hard-on. It agonized him, imagining himself with a girl: she’d laugh, even worse, giggle her head off while she tried to apologize. Of course, she’d tell all her friends.
Truth was, Henry imagined his future lay with boys instead of girls: it didn’t matter how effing big your cock was if you never had to use it. Like the boy in the video, Henry would get his mouth fucked good and hard by big thick cocks. His little mouse would just flap uselessly as a guy rode Henry like a bitch. It made his asshole ache, imagining a cock the size of Hailey’s dildo plumbing his rectum until it came. He squirmed, imagining a cum-gush filling him to bursting while he squealed effeminately. He farted in response, making himself grimace.
He showered quickly, donned his shorts, and brushed his teeth, put on deodorant in the mirror. He was so abysmally skinny, ribs jutting through his skin, arms barely thicker than his minuscule pecker. For God’s sake, look at the thigh-gap he had! Angie would kill for that thigh gap, Katie had told him enviously. He disgustedly wrapped the towel around his middle. Maybe Tim Malone would finally shag his skinny ass, put him out of his misery. Let it be soon, he thought.
In his bedroom, Henry dressed, then went downstairs to say goodbye to his mom. He was always first out the door, his bus arriving earlier than either of his siblings. Most days, he wouldn’t even see them before school, unless Katie stuck her head outside her bedroom door to say hi, like this morning. Henry wished she were old enough to share his secrets. He liked sharing with Katie; she was just too young.
“Hi, Mom.” He buzzed her on the cheek going by.
“Hold on,” she said to the phone, “He’s here right now.” She put the phone on mute. “Sherry wants to know if you’d baby-sit Michael and David this weekend?”
He blinked, temporarily derailed. “Well, sure, I guess so,” he agreed, scratching his head. “You don’t mind?” They were leaving in the morning to visit Aunt Rachel and Uncle Paul in western PA; he wouldn’t get to see his cousins.
Mom shook her head. “It’s up to you, kid. Sherry wants to get some cleaning done at her mom’s, and doesn’t want the kids underfoot.”
Henry nodded. Sherry was his Uncle Matt’s girlfriend; the kids were eight and four years old: Michael, from Sherry’s first marriage, and David, his blood cousin. Sherry’s mom was recently widowed and unable to cope around the house anymore with her advanced arthritis.
“Here or there?” he asked, hoping here. He disliked Matt and Sherry’s cramped two-story townhouse. Here he had the Xbox in the family room, and the PlayStation 4 in his bedroom. Here they had plenty of food in the fridge. David and Sherry ate like effing peasants.
“Here, if you’d rather,” Mom said. Henry nodded enthusiastically.
Matt and Sherry would drop off the kids around ten on their way to Myersville. Henry would watch them overnight, and then Matt and Sherry would pick them up Sunday afternoon, probably around three. His mom, dad, and sisters would be home around five, so Henry’s free time consisted of three hours Saturday morning, and maybe two more before his folks got home. Not a promising scenario, but better than he might otherwise expect for fucking Hailey’s ass this weekend. As if.
Everything changed Saturday morning.
At just after 9:30 a.m. his cell phone rang. Firefox was pointed to his favorite porn site, xHamster, where boys and girls gladly (or otherwise), had their mouths and heinies fucked. Henry shut the cover and zipped himself up. “Hey, Mom.”
“Will you be okay if we left you there alone this weekend?” Mom asked.
Henry blinked in confusion. Wasn’t that the plan?
“Michael and David are both sick. It looks like Matt is coming down with it too.” Mom sounded totally stressed. “Michael threw up in the car, and David threw up ten minutes later. Sherry just called me in a panic. She says half of Michael’s class is out with a stomach bug that Michael didn’t think to tell her about. We’re already on 76 and I’d rather not turn around and come home. Will you be okay there by yourself?”
Henry held the phone away and stared at it, dumbfounded. Alone, the entire fucking weekend? All by himself and Hailey’s big dildo?
“Henry? Are you there?”
“Yeah! I’m here,” he choked out hoarsely. He couldn’t help himself. “You’re kidding me, right?”
Mom laughed caustically. “This doesn’t give you a free ride, young man.” Henry heard Katie tittering in the background, and Angie snort. “You are 14 years old, and effectively grounded if we leave you there. You will have no visitors, and no one is to know you’re alone. I don’t want curious looks from the neighbors coming home. You sit tight, and stay out of sight. No drinking, and no smoking pot. Otherwise, you have the weekend to yourself. Are we understood?”
Henry gulped painfully. “Sure Mom.” The crack about the weed was just that, right, a wisecrack? Better leave that alone. “Can I still order pizza tonight?”
“Order anything you want. Just don’t spend more than the fifty dollars I left you. And Henry... ?”
“Angie says stay out of her room. Katie’s too.” Both girls laughed in the background.
“Right,” he said, chagrined. “Their clothes don’t fit me anyway, and I wouldn’t be caught dead in anything Angie would wear. I loathe Martha Stewart fashions.”
Angie cawed raucously: “I’ll Martha Stewart you, you little A-hole!”
Hanging up, Henry carefully placed the phone on his desk alongside the laptop and sat with his hands in his lap. He scarcely dared breathe, much less celebrate his incredible good fortune. He blinked, unsteadily shaking his head. Did that really just happen, he wondered? He was alone tonight? A big dildo and two ounces of noxious weed? Minus what he and Hailey had smoked, anyway. He turned to ogle the closet door. Holy shit, man, he thought.
He jumped up and rushed to the kitchen. In the fridge was a six-pack of Heineken, one bottle down, but his dad kept more in the pantry. There he found three more sixes, and a six-pack of Samuel Adams, his mom’s favorite. Mom would catch his thievery for sure, but not if Tim Malone could replenish his stock from his dad’s; both dad’s drank only Heineken. Henry liked Heineken, too, just fine.
Tim was his only true friend. They’d pal’d around together since kindergarten. This year, he and Tim shared History and Gym, the highlight of Henry’s day, though he’d rather die than ever admit that. It irked him no end that he was so pitifully endowed, while Tim was hung like a rock star. Tim was so big; it embarrassed other boys in their class, if that could be believed. Hailey’s dildo barely did it justice.
Henry thought distractedly, Maybe I should ... His eyes lost focus and he licked his lips nervously. He coughed into his fist, and then thought about his cell phone sitting on his desk. He traced the direction of his thoughts: Call Tim, invite him over, suck his big cock.
Worst. Idea. Ever.
Tim would exit his life forever ... with prejudice. His friend had never shown any predilection for the dark side. Tonight would just be Hailey and him, he decided; he’d hit up Tim for replacement beer later.
Yeah, he thought morosely. And explain why you didn’t invite him over tonight. He was so fucked.
Removing a six-pack from the pantry, he sat it beside the cold six on the refrigerator shelf. He made himself a ham and cheese sandwich and a glass of milk, wanting a cold beer instead. That would never happen in the daytime. Let a neighbor drop by, checking on him for Mom. Not cool.
Henry’s was one of three luxury hi-rise condominiums in the Hawksbill development in Chevy Chase. 6500 Eagle Terrence was the center building; its twin, 6600 Eagle Terrence, catty-cornered it on the west side. The smaller building--but even more exclusive--was 6400 Eagle Terrence, opposite him to the east. Twenty-four stories tall, both 6500 and 6600 Eagle Terrence housed four condos per floor. 6400 Eagle Terrence housed only two condos per floor, and was only twenty stories tall. Its residents included the families of two US senators, relatives of the vice-president, and numerous rich businesspersons, rock stars of the local area.
Residents of his building were not exactly paupers though. His family was one of the least well to do, however, hence their internment on the fifth floor. Maybe it was why he and his sister attended Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, instead of a private school like Tim Malone. Tim lived in the affluent Chevy Chase neighborhood of Kenwood; his parents were certified rock stars. They drove European cars.
At two-thirty, Henry answered a buzz on the intercom.
“Hello, Henry. Open the door for your poor neighbor.” It was Mrs. Dexter, from next door.
“Mom has you checking up on my, huh?”
“Of course, she does. Now open up so I can see you and report back as ordered.”
Mrs. Dexter was well into her seventies. Her hair was bright white, and she smiled just as brightly. Henry often wondered if the smile was hers, or some orthodontist’s. His mother scowled at him, the one time he’d asked.
“Are you having a fun time, Henry?” Mrs. Dexter pinched his cheek. She was a devoted cheek pincher.
Maybe later on, he thought grimly. Would you care to join in, Mrs. Dexter? Suppressing a shudder, he grinned and said, “My Xbox keeps me busy. Ever played Call Of Duty, Mrs. Dexter?”
“My grandchildren have, I’m sure. Electronic boxes in every one of their bedrooms.” Her smile turned tolerant. “Worst thing to happen to youth other than stupid cell phones.”
“I agree,” he said. Worse even than magic weed and nine inch long dildos. “You can tell Mom I’m okay, Mrs. Dexter. Not abducted by angry aliens, or desperate housewives or anything.”
Mrs. Dexter chuckled. “You wouldn’t know a desperate housewife if one rapped you on the forehead, young man.”
Henry reddened. “I’m sure I wouldn’t,” he muttered. He imagined Mrs. Dexter had been someone’s headache back in the day. She’d been a widow all his short life.
“What time should I expect another check in?” he asked.
“Eight o’clock, if I haven’t fallen asleep already, or forgotten.” She grinned crookedly. “You know how us older folk are: all worn down bushings and bearings.” She pinched his cheek again. “By the way, I always know when you and your friend smoke pot out on the front balcony.” She winked conspiratorially. “The rear balcony’s much better for that kind of activity, Henry, always gets a good breeze. 6400 blocks the wind out front.” She grinned as he gawped. “Enjoy your evening, Henry.” She turned and swooshed away, obviously pleased with herself. Henry blinked after her, nonplused.
Five o’clock came, and he took a break from Call of Duty. Mrs. Dexter’s first and middle names, he discovered on Google, were Constance and Marie, which he’d never known. She was born in 1938, third offspring of Adam and Vera Bennett. She attended Vassar College and graduated in 1960 with a BA. (In The Humanities, whatever that was). She worked for her dad as an accountant for three years, and then joined The Peace Corps in 1963. She met her future husband; a minor functionary in the Kennedy administration named Gaylord Dexter, in Kinshasa, Congo-Leopoldville. They married in 1966. The marriage produced three fine daughters and one handsome son, all of whom attended elite colleges and moved to remote locales to pursue their livelihoods. Gaylord Dexter died in 2000 at the age of seventy. Constance had lived alone since.
Holy cow, he thought. Mrs. Dexter was one attractive woman, when she was younger. Her pictures in high school pretty much stole his breath away. A cheerleader all three years, and a member of the track team, she had long blonde hair and a breathtaking smile. She liked to laugh and had the features for it, Henry thought. Statuesque at 5’8” tall, Henry guessed she had lost a couple of inches since then. Everyone towered over Henry, but Mrs. Dexter by only a few inches.
He ordered a large pepperoni pizza from Pappa John’s, along with a two liter bottle of Diet Pepsi. Mom never kept enough soda in the house. “I don’t like you drinking this stuff all the time,” she admonished severely. Henry would gladly drink nothing other than Diet Pepsi, although lately he’d begun drinking Diet Coke, Angie’s favorite. Papa John’s didn’t sell Coke products though. The pizza arrived at six-thirty sharp and Henry paid the man cash. He eyed Henry strangely. It sorta creeped him out.
Eating, Henry pondered Hailey. How badly was his psyche fractured, he wondered, if he actively held conversations with the girl, as he’d done Thursday night? Hailey was becoming as real to him as his own sisters. That wasn’t a good thing, surely. She haunted his dreams, though never as a sexual partner. Some of the dreams were distinctly bizarre, though: three nights ago, for instance, they’d climbed the facades of the old World Trade Center towers together, he taking the south tower, Hailey scaling the north. Nothing suggestive of that, he thought. Thursday night was his idea.
“Getting caught would not be pretty,” she’d warned.
“Think how good it’ll feel, though. You know you’ll enjoy it,” he coaxed. She had, and so had he.
Remembering made him shift uncomfortably. That big thing had no business being up his behind. The shaft was 7” long, 1-1/4” in diameter, and stood defiantly upright on a wide thick base. Gallingly, it took the shape off an enormous pair of testicles. His pair might belong to a prepubescent nine-year-old, he thought dolefully. He shifted uncomfortably again, thinking that Tim Malone was probably that big with a hard on. He coughed loudly and closed the pizza box.
True to her word, Mrs. Dexter buzzed the intercom at exactly 8:00 p.m. Henry invited her in.
“Thank you, so much. Is that pepperoni pizza I smell?” Grinning at him, she winked.
Henry reddened slightly. “Would you like a slice, Mrs. D?”
“Oh, my God, yes!” she gushed. “Can I have one though... ?” She smiled sadly. “Only if I want to spend the night in the toilet. The last time I ate pizza was when I was...” She crossed her arms and tapped her chin thoughtfully. “At my granddaughter Rebecca’s graduation, I imagine. That was six years ago now. She’s interning at a veterinarian hospital, specializing in large animals, horses, and such. Can you imagine a one hundred pound girl attending a fifteen hundred pound horse? I just can’t wrap my head around that. Can you?”
Henry blinked, tongue-tied. Fifteen hundred pound horses? Where had that come from? “Is she pretty?” he blurted.
Mrs. Dexter laughed. “The horse, or my granddaughter?”
Henry blushed even harder. “I don’t know why I said that, sorry,” he muttered. “Would you like something to drink? I have Diet Pepsi, lemonade, Diet-Coke, iced tea ... Heineken?” he offered hesitantly.
“I’m fine,” she answered, “though I’ll ponder a cold bottle of Heineken all night long. That was my favorite beer, you know, when I drank beer. I remember my first bottle, back in 1958. That was a big deal back then, a foreign beer, you know. It’s brewed here in the states now.”
“I did not know that,” he admitted.
“Would you like to see Rebecca?” she asked.
Confused, he nodded. Then raised his eyebrows when she pulled an iPhone from her slacks pocket, thumbed it on and expertly poked the Photo’s icon and flipped through her albums. She handled the phone just like a kid, he thought.
“I know I have a recent picture of her here,” she mused. “Oh, here we go, just this past August.” She chuckled, amused. “And with a horse, no less.”
She extended the phone and there was a pretty, though somewhat flustered-looking blonde with windswept hair. She appeared to be yanking down on the bridle, trying to make the animal heel. It was a huge chestnut stallion; no horse that big could be a mare, he thought. Not to his limited understanding.
“She looks just like you,” he said, remembering too late.
She offered a wry grin. “Not presently, but give her fifty years or so. Or did you mean that she resembles me in earlier photos?”
Henry thought his face might spontaneously combust. “I was just curious,” he muttered. “I didn’t mean any offense, Mrs. D.”
“None taken!” she said brightly. “I should feel flattered by your curiosity. I do feel flattered by your curiosity, I should say. Did you know that I went to the very same high school that you attend?”
His eyebrows arched. “Really? B-CC? My mom went there too!”
“Class of 1993, I know. Your mother was quite a looker herself in high school. Not that she isn’t now,” she corrected with a grin. “She was a cheerleader, did you know that? Rebecca too, though even the mention of it now, mortifies her. She so hates being classified as a ‘Flighty Blonde’. Your mom has the advantage of being a brunette, at least. Don’t you think she bears a striking resemblance to Jacqueline Kennedy?”
Henry was studying the turbulent 60’s in History class, so he knew exactly who the wife of the 35th president was. He was surprised at the suggestion of a resemblance, though; his mom was a dead ringer for Rachel Leigh Cook, he thought.
“You don’t agree?” she asked mischievously. Henry was beginning to think mischievous was Mrs. Dexter’s middle name. He confessed his doubts about a likeness, suggesting the diminutive actress instead.
Mrs. Dexter nodded thoughtfully. “Maybe. They are about the same age. Your mom has a better figure, though,” she allowed.
Henry didn’t like to think about his mother’s figure: she had noticeably big breasts, Angie likewise. Katie was just beginning to sprout, on her way down the same road, he imagined. His mother was obtuse about her endowment, but Angie liked to flaunt her boobs at every available opportunity--often at Henry’s expense. He imagined his mother had once, but he chose not to consider that. It was too gross.
Henry again offered something to drink, but Mrs. Dexter declined, saying it was time she got home. “I have ‘The Real Housewives of Potomac’ recorded on my DVR,” she whispered conspiratorially, “and I can’t wait to see what Gizelle got up to the last episode.” She arched her eyebrows and puckered her lips suggestively. Henry had no idea what The Real Housewives of Potomac was, much less this Gizelle woman. He bet his sister did though; she watched all those garbage shows.
Henry continued to think about Mrs. Dexter long after she left. In fact, the unwanted musings so interfered with his game play that he finally quit; the competition was obliterating him minutes into each game. Finally, he killed the console in disgust and went to the kitchen for a Diet Coke.
It weirded him, knowing his mom hadn’t been born when Mrs. Dexter cheered for B-CC. What year did Google tell him she had graduated high school, anyway? 1956? The same year his grandmother was born, for God’s sake. Grandpa Bob was 66, so Mrs. Dexter was in sixth grade, the day he was born. Effing mind blowing! (Then again, Great-grandpa Bob was born in 1918, so what could Mrs. Dexter say to that?) The upshot of it was this woman was 76 years old, the oldest person he presently knew. She’d been married in Africa for Christ’s sake. Africa! In 1966!
Brow deeply furrowed, he returned to his bedroom with the Diet Coke, plopped down at his desk, and opened the Mac. He’d left the browser open to the search page for Kinshasa; now he redirected it to Mrs. Dexter, entering the words Kinshasa, Congo, The Peace Corp, and State Department as parameters. Over the next half hour, he learned that Congo in the early 60’s was a place of great strife, that General Joseph Mobuto (later Mobuto Sese Seko) seized power in 1965, renamed the country Zaire in 1971, and remained in power until overthrown in 1996 by invading Rwandan troops. Gaylord and Constance Dexter had remained in Conga until 1970, when they had returned to the U.S. with their two small children, Elisabeth and Gaylord, Jr. ages two, and 8 months.
Henry discovered a surprising number of pictures containing his neighbor, before, and after her marriage. A great number depicted Constance with Congo natives, in all manner of activity. They varied from smartly dressed business people and landowners in late-model American and European automobiles, to natives wearing loincloths and sporting the most bizarre decoration. Stately homes on neatly manicured lawns, and villages comprised of mud huts with thatched roofs. Bare-chested women were so plentiful in shots of these native villages, that Henry quickly lost interest in all the bare breasts, wincing more often than ogling. For a time he clung to the hope that Mrs. Dexter might go native and give him a treat, but that never happened. He did see lots of her long legs, however, and always enjoyed her outfits of khaki shorts and button-down cotton shirts. Until near the end, her smile never faltered.
Six years, he thought. A long time to spend on a continent notorious for crocodiles, civil war, cannibalism, human trafficking, and tropical disease. The few pictures he’d found from 1969 depicted a Constance Decker much removed from that of her earlier years. She’d lost weight. Her expression reflected tension rather than tenacity. Her hair appeared disheveled, rather than windblown. Where before, her shoulders eagerly bore the weight of the world, they now hunched in vexation. Something went seriously wrong in her life in 1969. By 1970, she had evidently recovered, though. Then she went home.
It was approaching 10 o’clock. Henry was desperate to break out the dildo and weed. He decided Mrs. Dexter’s advice concerning the rear balcony was excellent, deserving of reception. Had she ever smoked weed out there herself, he wondered. He could envision her doing so, back in her cheerleading days.
He liberated the box containing the dildo and weed from his closet, and went to the kitchen with the dildo wrapped in a towel for a good scrubbing. There’d been no opportunity Thursday night after their anal fun; he’d grimly returned the phallus to the box in soiled condition, knowingly later, he’d be grossed out. Washing the shaft, he grumbled how Hailey should be performing this act, not him; it was her idea, after all.
“Mine!” Incensed, she punched him on the shoulder. “That was practically rape, what you did to me, asshole! I should have screamed for Mom!”
“Give me a break! You enjoyed it every bit as much as I did!”
Hailey snorted derisively. “You remember who suffers the humiliation of getting caught,” she rightly pointed out. “You’d disappear into your back room, never to be heard from again.”
“As if,” he muttered, grinning. “I’d ever be so damn lucky.”
“Toad,” she complained.
“You are one to talk. It wasn’t me who brought the backpack home, Henry Van Kuren.”
“You convinced me to keep the dildo, though. I only wanted the effing weed.”
Hailey gasped in disgust. “Me? I wanted to hide behind the couch! You raped me with the damned thing. I ached for two weeks after you assaulted me, Henry Van Kuren! It wasn’t your bottom being reamed.”
Henry rolled his eyes.
“Cut that out. It’s demeaning.”
“Said the hapless boy’s imaginary sister.”
“I’ll imaginary you,” she retorted, gripping the front of his jeans. Henry grimaced and grabbed her wrist.
“Easy. Don’t ruin the fun before it starts, psycho.”
“Psycho you. I’m just a fun-loving girl!”
Henry snorted again. “Then put your fun self to some use. On your knees, preferably.”
Hailey stamped away in disgust.
Dish soap and vigorous scrubbing had the dildo clean as anything short of a boiling pot of water would get it; he tentatively sniffed the tip, which appeared spotless to his eye, then wrapped it in a clean dish towel. It was 10:15 pm.
“Is this too early?” he wondered aloud. What if mom called and wanted to Face-time, or something? They’d swapped occasional texts that afternoon and this evening, the last one half an hour ago--Don’t stay up all night playing video games, Henry!--but she’d said nothing about going to bed soon. This could be a royal pain in the ass. His cell phone rang.
Shoving the dildo under his pillow and looking hastily around his room, Henry accepted the Face-time call. “Hey, Mom. What’s up?”
“Are you alone?” she asked perfunctorily.
Henry blinked in surprise. “Yeah, I’m alone. I haven’t talked to anybody today except Mrs. Dexter. Don’t you trust me?”
“Do I trust my 14-year-old home alone? Let me think about that,” she mused.
“Funny,” he grumbled. “Ha ha.”
“You’re being a good boy, then.”
“Honest injun, Mom.”
“Mrs. Dexter is quite taken with you, you know. She thinks you spin gold, instead of tall tales. She’s usually such a levelheaded woman, too. I guess we all have our weaknesses. She says you’ve been playing video games all day, though?”
“What else am I supposed to do?” he complained. “Clean my bedroom?”
“Well, there’s a thought I never would have expected. Homework, maybe?”
“I did that last night,” he lied. “I’m done with gaming now anyway. I was gonna watch Netflix. I hear they have Fear The Walking Dead on. If that’s okay with you,” he added petulantly.
“Don’t be a smart ass, Henry. And yes, it’s okay. You watch The Walking Dead, so might as well finish the job the original started on your brain cells. I’m sure that’s what started the spread in the first place: shows like The Walking Dead. Or is that putting the horse before the cart? A chicken/egg dilemma if I ever heard one.”
“Mom!” he complained.
“Enough,” she agreed. “No later than 1 am, though. And I want that room of yours spotless before we get home, young man. I’ll call you in the morning.”
“Bye, Mom,” he prodded.
“Henry... ? I do love you. I wouldn’t always be on you if I didn’t love you. Just ask your older sister.”
He listened to Angie guffaw in the background. The least his mother could do was give him grief in private, he thought. Gazing at his pillow with a longing expression, he wished she’d get off the effing phone.
“I love you too, Mom.” And out of nowhere, apropos of nothing, he asked, “Can I drink one of Dad’s beers?”
Dumbfounded, he steeled for the coming indignant explosion. Instead, she laughed. “Just one. And I mean it about cleaning that pigsty of yours in the morning, Henry. And do your laundry, too. I’m tired of it piling up on your bedroom floor until you have nothing to wear. You’re as bad as Jeremy in Zits.”
Whatever that was, he thought giddily. He had her permission to drink beer? Only one bottle, to be sure, but what an unexpected answer to an idiotic question. What was he thinking?
Mom rung off, and Henry immediately bee-lined for the kitchen. He grabbed a bottle from the open six-pack and spun off the lid. He breathed in the delicious aroma, and then took a sip. It was 10:35 pm.
“I’m getting so wasted, tonight,” he promised.
Back in his room, Henry closed the blinds tight and yanked the dildo out from beneath his pillow. It was too early for any shenanigans with this bad boy; he wanted to experience the agony of suspense. He opened his top drawer and dropped it inside. What he wanted right now was dope.
To date, he, Tim and Hailey had toked from only one baggie. What Henry wondered was why the weed in the second bag differed in looks so much from the first. Tim claimed they were two different species of pot. Henry wasn’t sure if he bought that story or not. Maybe the second bag was newer than the first, he thought; the weed a lighter green. Not being an expert, he’d no way of knowing the first bag contained a less potent strain of Indica marijuana from Peru called Snow White. The untried bag contained a hugely intoxicating strain of Sativa marijuana from Congo, one of the most potent strains in the world. Fingering the bag, he thought he’d give this lighter color stuff a try. He was in for a major roller coaster ride.
Pinching a thin line onto one of the papers, he rolled it inexpertly and licked the edge. Tim was much better at this than Henry. Hailey giggled over the typical result, which he now held between forefinger and thumb, regarding crabbily. He just couldn’t get it right. Sighing, he scooped up the extra weed into his palm and dumped it back in the bag. This joint would go quick, he thought. Barely worth the effort. So he thought.
At the rear balcony, Henry slid open the door and invited Hailey outside.
“My knight in shining armor,” she quipped.
She looked good tonight, braless under a gray T-shirt and wearing Henry’s khaki cargo shorts. She was barefoot, same as Henry. Not late October attire, exactly, but it was an unseasonably warm weekend, and nice out. Henry slid out a chair for her.
“Southeasterly breeze?” she suggested.
“If you say so,” Henry whispered. It made no difference how vocal Hailey was outside: no one would hear her. He sat down and stretched his legs. The tile flooring was the perfect temperature, the seat cushions a little bit chill.
The breeze was indeed coming out of the southeast, he decided, a nice fresh one, perfect for blowing away smoke. He got up and peeked around the end of the balcony wall.
“Not there?” Hailey inquired. “Nosy old busybody. Really should mind her own business, you know?”
Did Henry discern a note of petulance in her tone: was she jealous of Mrs. Dexter’s younger self? He chuckled.
“Stop it,” Hailey grumbled. “You have no business wondering how she looked in a bikini, anyway. We’re supposed to like boys.”
“You’re supposed to,” he corrected. “I’m of the male persuasion, remember?”
“Since when?” she wanted to know.
Henry laughed. “Ready to light up a joint?”
“Ready to go inside,” she grumbled, sinking low in the chair and crossing her arms tightly over her thin chest. Fingertips beneath her T-shirt poked the front above her arms; she had a nipple erection.
“I will go inside if you don’t stop leering at me,” she warned.