“The questions, Scotty, are
these: one, why is there a pigsty in one of the dorms under your care? Two,
why is this pig allowed to have a sty? Three, why haven’t you moved a decent
young man out of this pigsty? Four, why are you just standing there?" As
she enumerated each question, Auntie gave the dean a sharp tap on the
shoulder with her cane. “Action, Dean, action!” she said and gave the dean a
whack on the butt.
“And as for you, Mr. Slob,
the dean and I will be back in an hour to inspect this room. You are not to
leave this room until we have done so except to get trash bags and cleaning
supplies. Levi, grab your bag. Derek, your arm please.”
“Well, fuck you"
Levi’s roommate said. “I pay for this fucking room. It’s mine, so you can
just go to hell.”
“Mr. Beckwith, I believe you
have been misinformed. Perhaps in addition to cleaning this pigsty, you will
highlight the applicable parts in your student handbook. As Mrs. Kingston
said, we will be back in an hour. Were you planning on leaving today?”
“Yeah. My old man, J.
Jonathan Beckwith, IV will be here in fifteen minutes to pick me up” He said
the name as though he thought we should recognize it and how important he
"Then he can help you clean
this pigsty. Mr. Epstein, do you have a digital camera?” Levi nodded. “May I
borrow it?” Levi dug in his bag, found his camera case, took out the camera
and extended it to the dean. “Would you mind photographing the
room--extensively? I have difficulty with just a point-and-shoot and your
camera is far more than that. We’ll step into the hall.”
As soon as we were outside,
Auntie said, "Scotty, you can call me with Levi’s new room number and
arrange to move his things while he’s on holiday.”
“Amelia, I would, except
there simply is not an empty room on campus.”
"Then check the complaints
he has filed without action on the part of Student Life and apply the refund
for the year’s dorm fee to his college bill. He will no longer be living in
a dorm. Move Mr. Epstein’s things to my place. Mr. Beckwith will, I am sure,
be happy to pay for a private room. Merry Christmas to you and your family,
"Merry Christmas, Amelia,
Derek,” the dean said. As Levi came out of the room, the dean said, “Mr.
Beckwith, I think you might get busy if you want to leave campus today. Mr.
Epstein, could you send me an email with the photos as soon as possible? I
would appreciate it."
On the way to the house,
Auntie told Levi what she had arranged. “You’ll have the guest room, which
is considerably larger than that dorm room, and it will all be yours. I’m
sure Derek will be happy to share his library and living room with you.”
“And if Eloise is here after
“We’ll cross that bridge
when we get to it. What’s important now is that you need a decent place to
stay. Eloise is a separate matter.”
An hour and a half after we
got back home, Levi’s cell phone played a jingle. He flipped it open and
said, “Levi here. . . . Well, Dean, it will be awhile. . . . No, because I
don’t have a car and I left my bike at the dorm since I rode back to
Auntie’s with Derek. . . . WelI, sir, you could ask, but I can’t answer for
him. . . . I will.” Levi handed the phone to me, saying, “Derek, the dean
would like to speak with you.”
“Derek, I’m in a bit of a
bind. Mr. Beckwith is here and would like to speak with Levi. Would it be
possible for you to drive him over?"
“I suppose. I need to ask
Auntie as I was ready to start preparing dinner.”
“Bring him over and I’ll
order take-out for the three of you.”
“That should work, but there
will be five of us.”
“Understood. Please bring
Levi to my office. Come with him, if you will.”
When we arrived, the dean
showed us into his conference room. Before we sat down, he said, “Mr.
Beckwith, Levi Epstein, you son’s roommate, and Derek Wilson, a friend.
Levi, Derek, Mr. Beckwith." Mr. Beckwith IV was an older version of Slob
Beckwith, V. He stood and extended his hand. We shook and then the dean
nodded and we seated ourselves.
“Mr. Epstein, I would order
my son to apologize to you, but you know it would only be done because I
told him to do so. On his behalf, I sincerely apologize for the pigsty he
created for you to live in. I had called Jon and told him to meet me out
front so we could get on our way quickly. I'll confess, I was a bit, if
you’ll pardon the expression, pissed when the dean more or less ordered me
to come to Jon’s room. When the dean told me I needed to see the room, I
expected to see a typical messy dorm room. Jon has always thought the floor
was both a closet and laundry hamper. Needless to say, I was shocked at what
“I have spoken to the dean
about the complaints you had lodged being ignored and I suspect he will be
more diligent about such in the future. I understand Jon will be allowed to
live in the dorm room, alone, for the cost of a private dorm room and that
you will receive a refund for the year’s dorm fee. The only part of that
which affects me directly is the doubled room rent. Accordingly, I am
reducing Jon’s monthly allowance . . . ”
"Shit, Dad, how can I have
any fun . . . ”
“Jon, I suggest you stop
while you’re ahead or you’ll be working in a pizza place for any money you
have to spend, like a lot of the students here. Derek, I understand you and
your aunt, Mrs. Kingston, have taken Levi in. Jon has a college trust fund
established by his grandfather which pays for his college, including room
and board and it will pick up the extra.” Jon got a grin on his face since
he saw his allowance return to the usual amount. “So, the half of Jon’s
allowance he is contributing will be sent to Mrs. Kingston to help pay for
her additional expenses. Finally, just for your information, I have made
arrangements for a weekly inspection of Jon’s dorm room until he passes
twelve consecutive inspections or graduates, whichever comes first."
“Levi? Derek?” the Dean
“I’m sure Auntie will put
the extra money to good use, sir, but it is not necessary," I replied.
“Not for her, not for you,
but for Jon, it is necessary,” Mr. Beckwith said.
“Mr. Beckwith, I'm sure
Auntie with appreciate that,” I said.
Levi said, “Mr. Beckwith, I
appreciate what you have done and especially how you are dealing with Jon.
Jon, I hope you learn an important lesson from all this, if so, maybe my
living in a pigsty was worth it."
Jon mouthed, "Fuck you.” I
suspected the end of the year, if not before, would be the end of J.
Jonathan Beckwith the fifth‘s tenure at OCU.
When we got back to
Auntie’s, Levi and I packed for the trip to Grace House and put our bags in
the car, ready to leave in the morning. It seemed strange not having an
assignment we needed to work on, reading to be done or some class project
demanding our attention. We were kinda at loose ends when Levi said, “Derek,
I don’t think that chess set has been touched since it was put on the game
table. You play?”
“Afraid not. I wouldn’t know
where to start.”
“You start by sitting down
in front of a board.” We sat in the wing chairs facing each other and Levi
started by telling me the names of the pieces and how each one moved. “Ever
“Well, the object of
checkers is to capture all your opponent’s pieces. Not true in chess. The
object in chess is to capture the other player’s king. White makes
the first move Ordinarily, one of us would place a black piece in one hand
and a white in the other. The opposing player would choose a hand and the
color of the piece in that hand would be his color.” Thus began my education
as a chess player, a game I came to love.
We had been at it just over
an hour when I heard Auntie rap on the stair rail, a signal for me to come
down. When I got downstairs, she asked if I knew how to get into the attic.
I didn’t. “Well, there was a pull-down stair in the girls’ closet and I
assume it is still there or in the bathroom. Could you and Levi get the
highchair from the attic and bring it down? I’m likely to need it soon.”
I found the pull-down stair
in the closet and Levi and I climbed into the attic. A single bare bulb was
all the light available and it took awhile before we could see. Like most
attics, it held a great deal of stuff, most of which was in boxes, trunks or
chests. The highchair was easy to spot and as soon as I lifted it, I
understood why Auntie sent the two of us to bring it down. The old fashioned
wood chair was very heavy. Getting it down the narrow stairs proved to be a
real struggle, but we finally made it.
“It’s pretty dusty, Auntie,”
Levi said as we carried it into the kitchen.
“Well, it’s been in the
attic since long before you were even a twinkle in your daddy’s eye. Would
you please take it out back and hose it off. Water won’t hurt it. When you
finish, dry it off and bring it into the kitchen." Twenty minutes later, we
had it back in the kitchen and placed the highchair where Auntie wanted it.
It was just past 5:30 when
an SUV pulled into the driveway and a woman and a pre-teen girl got out.
They were walking away when the side door slid open and a young woman
started maneuvering herself out of the van using arm crutches. Levi quickly
went to assist her. “Thank you," she said and smiled at him. “I can manage
in my car, but getting in and out of Mama’s tank is awkward. I’m Eloise.”
"Boy.” The woman I was sure
was Geneva beckoned me with a limp hand and said, "Get our bags and take
Eloise’s to the guest room and mine and Marissa’s upstairs.” This was
Auntie’s daughter-in-law, so I just stood there and said nothing.
Auntie was standing on the
porch and had heard and seen it all. Auntie was not passive. "Geneva, I see
you are still the same rude bitch you have always been, so just stand right
there while we get some things straight else turn around and get your skinny
ass back to Lynchburg. The choice is yours. First, the young man’s name is
Derek and you are, or maybe will be a guest in his house. He is not your, my
or anyone’s servant and it is obvious even to someone wearing blinders that
he is a man, not a boy. Second, you and Eloise will be sharing the guest
room and Marissa will sleep on the parlor couch. Neither of you will set
foot upstairs. I told you that belongs to Derek, period. Third, I see
Marissa has learned well from you and did not offer to help her mother. If
that is an example of how she expects to behave, you may as well take her
back to Lynchburg now and save the expense of a bus ticket. Do you
understand what I am saying? Now you and Marissa get your own bags and put
them in the guest room. Derek, if you would please get Eloise’s. Eloise,
welcome." I could see I was going to miss an interesting week or so.
After the bags were put
away, Auntie made tea for the adults and a cup of hot chocolate for Marissa.
She placed a plate of oatmeal and raisin cookies and the tea and
chocolate on the kitchen table.
"I don’t drink hot chocolate
mix. I drink real cocoa," Marissa whined. Auntie took the cup from in front
of her and dumped it in the sink and came back and sat down. “You didn’t
make my cocoa," Marissa complained.
“Didn’t, not going to,"
“You better,” the brat said,
drawing back a fist to hit Auntie. Instinctively, Levi and I each grabbed an
arm. "Mama, that nigger hurt me.” I quickly released her. African-Americans
have develop a sixth sense about danger signs and dangerous words early in
“Young lady, you ever use
that filthy word in this house again and I’ll tan your lily white ass.”
“G’ma, she said a bad word
and she said she’s hurt me."
“Geneva, she’s not a baby.
Marissa, we all have an ass. Ass is not as filthy a word as the one you
called Derek. You are how old? Nine? Ten?”
“Then you are old enough to
have some manners, respect other people and know how to behave. You are in
Derek’s house. You act like you are going to hurt me or disrespect Derek and
you are out of line. See that highchair over there? It’s for babies and when
you act like a baby, you will do time out in that highchair."
"You can’t make me!" she
said and stuck out her tongue at Auntie.
Even a ten-year-old should
have known that was not wise. “Derek, put her in the high chair. Marissa,
fifteen minutes in time out.”
I didn’t know what to do and
I guess I looked bewildered. I glanced at Eloise who was smiling and she
gave me a brief nod. I walked over to Marissa and when I reached to pick her
up, she ran straight toward Levi who scooped her up and plopped her down in
the high chair. She stuck her tongue out at him and started to climb out. By
then I was at the highchair, had turned the safety belt around so she
couldn't reach it and snapped it. She started screaming at the top of her
“The time for timeout
doesn‘t start until you shut up, Marissa,” Auntie said as she poured out now
cold tea and started a new pot. Geneva was so angry she was red in the face.
Eloise was red in the face from holding back laughter. Marissa was red in
the face from screaming, which she was still doing. When Auntie brought the
tea back, she said, “Levi, Derek, could I prevail on you again?” We nodded.
"Take that highchair and the screaming brat to the guest room so we can
enjoy our tea.”
Levi grinned. On the one
hand, I was pretty nervous about doing anything with a ten-year-old white
girl. Well, her great grandmother was African-American, but very light
skinned and Geneva and the family all 'passed.' On the other hand Auntie had
given me an order. I grabbed one side of the highchair and Levi the other
and we took it to the guest room and went back for tea and a cookie. I was
worrying about Auntie and thinking maybe Levi and I should hang around a few
days. I shouldn’t have worried.
“Geneva, you destroyed the
life of one of my grandsons, you have created two stuffed shirt, Bible
spouting, hate mongering, bigoted, horse’s asses out of the other two and
you have created a monster child. No wonder you want to dump that brat on me
so you can jingle your Christmas bells. I bet the difference between Harry
and Jason is Harry loved the sea, but couldn’t wait to get home; I suspect
Jason loves the sea and can’t wait to get back aboard a ship. You are
pathetic. Now Levi and Derek are leaving . . . "
“Day after tomorrow,” Levi
said, glancing at me.
“ . . . in the morning.”
“In the morning, day after
tomorrow,” I said and gave Auntie a look that said ‘I mean it!’
"If Marissa has learned to
behave by then, she can stay, otherwise, her little ass will be headed for
Lynchburg. I told you that before you brought her here. She will not rule
this household. I hope that got through your thick skull this time. And by
the way, you won’t be leaving until day after tomorrow either."
“But I have a dinner
party. . . . "
“Had, unless you take the
brat with you.”
The timer went off and
Auntie sent me to release Marissa. When she came in the kitchen, Auntie
said, "You may go into my sitting room and watch TV. Leave everything else
alone and keep the sound down."
Levi and I went upstairs and
as soon as we flopped down in the living room, Levi said, “Want to place a
bet on whether or not Marissa gets to stay?”
“At this point, no. Right
now it looks like an irresistible force and an immovable object, but my
money’s on Auntie whether she goes or stays.”
"Only a fool would bet
I heard the doorbell ring,
glanced at the clock and said, “Our food has arrived. I hope the dean didn’t
order individual dinners since I told him there would be five for dinner.”
When we went downstairs, Levi and I started setting the table while Auntie
put out the food. There was enough for six or more and it was good.
After dinner, Auntie said,
“Sons, you go on about your business. Geneva and Marissa will clear and
clean up. See you in the morning." We each kissed her on the cheek and went
Levi gave me another chess
lesson while some soft music played in the background. After forty-five
minutes or so, he said, “Had enough chess?"
"I have, but I feel like I’m
wasting time and should be doing something."
“That feeling separates the
college students from the college party boys. Looking forward to going
“I am. I didn’t think I’d
have the opportunity. At first I thought we’d have a Christmas tournament
and when that didn’t develop, I knew I couldn’t leave Auntie here by
herself. I thought about taking her with me, but to be honest--and she would
deny it--the trip would be very difficult on her. Today would have been
pretty much for her with either the slob or the brat and I know the two have
been too much. At the same time, had we hid how you were having to live and
she found out, both our lives would be in jeopardy. I also knew when Geneva
called a bad scene was on the way. Auntie never liked Geneva, but after
Hank’s death, she comes as close to hate as she is capable.”
“I heard her talking to
Geneva as though Geneva killed him.”
“In Auntie’s mind she did."
I then told Levi more about how Hank had died.
“Oh, shit," he said and we
were both silent for long time then, considering what Hank had been through.
The CD changer advanced and
the new disk was club dance music. “You know we are supposed to be at some
gay club dancing, half naked and getting shit-faced.”
“There's a few beers left,
the music’s right. How about a tame version of what we’re supposed to be
"We even have some lights."
Adam, a drama major in the Western Civ study group, had brought some strobes
and a gadget which flashed colored lights over the room for the party. There
were still here since he wasn’t going to pick them up till after the
I went downstairs and
checked on the beer. There was a half case left. Before I went back up, I
tapped on Auntie’s door and when she invited me in, I saw she and the three
from Lynchburg were watching TV. I told her I needed to speak to her
privately and we went into her bedroom. I told her what we were going to do.
“We have no reason to leave the house, but in case we get foolish--well,
stupid foolish--here’re my car keys.”
“Derek, you know I trust you
and giving me the keys is a good example of why. I know you and Levi are
good friends and, I’m sure, have some feelings for each other if only lust.”
Auntie looked very serious and said, “Son, I know you’re normal and I
wouldn’t believe you if you told me tomorrow you two hadn’t played around
tonight. That said, don’t do anything you’ll regret in the morning. Pay
attention to your big head as well as your little head." She kissed me on
the cheek and said, “Have a good time."
As I took the beer upstairs,
I thought about what Auntie had said and what I have been struggling with
since the night of the party. Halfway up the stairs it struck me, I was
afraid a little playing around would once again result in my being in love
with someone who didn’t love me back.
I found Levi standing the
middle of the room with his shirt off, the lights and music going. After
taking out two beers, I put the rest in my mini-fridge and danced toward
him, a beer in each hand. He took both of them from my hands and put them on
the coffee table and slowly removed my shirt. He picked up the beers, handed
me one and we danced to the pounding music as we polished them off. We
continued dancing, stopping for a second beer, grinding our hard cocks into
each other, until we were sweaty and the fronts of our jeans soaked with
precum. We finally sat on the sofa, opened two more bottles and each took a
long swallow just as the CD changer started playing soft, slow, romantic
music. We quickly finished off our third bottle and I pulled Levi to his
feet, wrapped my arms around him and we danced, his head on my shoulder. He
raised his head, looked into my eyes and pulled my lips to his. I returned
his kiss, having learned something from his kiss the night before.
Over the next hour, we each
polished off our sixth beer, had two 'sword fights' while pissing, laughed a
lot, kissed a lot and danced a lot. We were far from shit-faced, but we
weren’t exactly sober either. In fact, there was no doubt in my mind that we
were well over the legal limit for driving. Actually, I had been since my
first swallow as there was zero tolerance for anyone under twenty-one. Even
at twenty-one, Levi was legally drunk.
After another piss, Levi
started a DVD and we cuddled up together on the couch. We watched the DVD
while downing our last beers, interspersing swigs with more practice
kissing. Levi said I was a fast learner and I said the secret was, as
always, a good teacher and practice, practice, practice.