Saga of the Elizabethton Tarheels

by Sequoyah


Chapter Thirty-one


Justin came home from work so tired that he more or less just collapsed in his chair. After he had caught his breath, he told me that he and Mr. Sanford had talked about his job -- his future job -- again. "Mr. Sanford made it very clear he wanted me to be co-manager of the downtown store. The Sherwin-Williams store will be moved next week or Easter week and Mrs. James and I will be in charge of the furniture side of the business and Mr. James  the paint store.  Mr. James -- my co-manager Mr. Sanford calls him -- and his wife will be developing the decorating business. Mr. Sanford thinks I might become more and more involved in interior decorating. Can't you just see Ms. Smith's son helping Mrs. J. Richy Bitch select furniture for her boudoir? We'll see."
When he said Easter week I suddenly realized what next week was and said, "You realize next week is Holy Week? The prom is Holy Saturday."
"I do, but I plan to think of it as Easter Eve. Problem for you?"
"Well, no, I guess. I mean if I think about it that way," I responded as I kissed him. "Babe, you really do look exhausted."
"Close to it. I tried to handle deliveries and managing the store both tonight and both jobs were really demanding. Mr. Sanford came by just before closing and finally realized I can't start learning management and still handle deliveries -- scheduling as well as a lot of the actual deliveries. I told him you were thinking about a job and might be interested in taking over my delivery job. He said if you were, have you come by Monday. You'd be at the new store and I'll be moving to the old one so I'd not be your boss."
"Sure, so I guess the two of you are determined to really piss off Adam."
"Look, if Adam says anything to me, which we know he won't, I'll point out that the two stores keep him in the lifestyle he enjoys. He has made it very plain to his dad and everyone else who knows him that he has no interest in the stores and never has had. I mean, we were handling deliveries last summer until football practice started and he just simply didn't come back when the season ended. His dad, I'm sure, couldn't depend on him and, I guess, just got tired of fighting him. Should he suddenly develop an interest, I'm sure his dad can find a place for him, but I'm not holding my breath.
"Actually, Mr. Sanford started to say something about Adam today, then changed the subject. I don't know if that was because he remembered what I said about his putting Adam down or if he was about to say something and realized it was not something I needed to know. Right now I don't -- if you'll pardon my French -- give a flying fuck about Adam's or Sanford Furniture's homegrown problems. What I'm interested in is a good, long, hot shower." "I'll be glad to assist," I said, and Justin responded with a huge Justin melt-your-heart smile.
Justin may have been tired, but the shower must have refreshed him! Before we left the shower, we both had rock-hard cocks, but when I reached for his he said, "Just cool it, Lover Boy," and stepped out of the shower. After we had dried each other, Justin said, "Now I'm ready to play. To the playground!" He grabbed for me, missed and I caught him, picked him up and slung him over my shoulder."Think your body needs loosening up after the hard night at the store?" I asked. Justin answered by reaching down and pinching an ass cheek then patting it. Before we left the bathroom, I got a large beach towel from the linen closet and flopped it over my shoulder ---with Justin. When I reached the bedroom, I took a bottle of massage oil -- thoughtfully provided by the Florida friends -- from the nightstand and popped it in our microwave for a matter of seconds, while still carrying Justin over my shoulder.While the oil was warming, I carried Justin to the bed where he spread the towel and, as soon as he finished, I dumped him on it and went for the oil. I checked the oil's temperature, then poured a small stream down Justin's beautiful hard back and started massaging his shoulders. When I reached his ass, I poured another stream of warm oil over his cheeks, then into his crack. I massaged his ass cheeks and when I slid the sides of my hands through his crack and over his rosebud, Justin started moaning. After massaging his ass, I worked on the tight muscles of his thighs and calves, helping him relax them. I finished with his back and he turned over. As I massaged his arms, well-defined chest, hard stomach and legs, I made sure I didn't touch his cock and balls, saving them for later. His cock did jump when I ran my hands down his inner thighs, but that's as close to his cock as I got.
Justin was very relaxed, which was great. I didn't expect he'd want to wait for sex and was prepared to give him what he wanted, but he said, "Your time, Babe," as he got up to microwave the oil, his hard cock pointing the way.Justin's strong hands worked miracles on my body as he massaged the hot oil over my back, then my front. After he had done a prince of a job on my feet, he moved back up my legs, finally running his oil-slick hands over my inner thighs. After massaging me, Justin was still hard, but definitely not as hard as he had been or as I was. I soon changed that when I poured a stream of warm oil over his cock and gave it a couple of strokes and he was a dude with a royal hardon.I reached out and pulled him on top of me and, as I did, his hard, oil-slick cock slid between my oily thighs, pressing my hard cock between us. As he moved to kiss me, his body massaged my cock and it felt good... really, really good. A huge grin spread across Justin's face as he started slowly sliding up and down on my slick body and, in doing so, thrusting his cock in and out between my thighs. "Damn, that feels good," he said as he continued sliding up and down my body.
"My cock definitely agrees with you," I grinned back.To make sure we did not get sore from the rubbing, Justin reached for the oil and leaned back on his legs, his cock pointing straight at me. He squirted more oil on my belly, between my thighs, and finally over his cock and balls. When Justin leaned forward, his cock slipped between my thighs easily. He grinned as he slid up and down, thrusting his cock between my thighs, massaging my cock between our bodies. Suddenly I felt Justin thrust deep and hold it, his fingers digging into my shoulders as I felt his hot cum between my legs. As he continued to pulse, he again moved up and down my body causing my seed to join his.When our climax was over, I pulled Justin's lips to mine for a long, deep kiss. He rolled off of me, reached for the towel he had dropped on the floor, and we cleaned up. Well, at least he wiped off most of the oil-cum soup from our bellies, cocks, and my legs. After he tossed the towel on the floor, Justin started kissing me on the chest, nipping at a nipple and tonguing it, knowing what the result would be. Sure enough, even though we had just experienced skyrockets-in-the-sky sex, it wasn't long before I was as hard as before and so was Justin. Justin reached into the nightstand and took out the lube and the largest toy from our friends in Florida. He was kneeling between my legs, which he raised straight up in to the air, and started doing magic to my rosebud with his finger and the lube.
As I said before, having something inserted in my ass was not my favorite activity but, for some reason, this time it really felt good. Justin bent my knees, pressing them against my stomach, forcing my ass in the air, spreading my cheeks, exposing my asshole. He then started inserting the dildo very slowly and, as he did, I realized that there was practically no pain involved -- a new experience. Justin had about half the toy inserted when he started moving it in and out slowly while gradually increasing its depth. As he continued, he leaned over and kissed my ass cheeks. Justin continued moving the dildo in and out as he grasped my pre-cum dripping cock and started stroking it slowly. Suddenly I felt an electric charge shoot through my body when he hit the sweet spot inside, something I had rarely experienced before. Justin's slow stroking had brought me to the very edge before he hit my pleasure spot and that shoved me over a cliff into a body-and-soul shaking orgasm.
It took me a while to come down from the high Justin had taken me to and when I did, I returned the favor. After we had cleaned up -- and changed the sheets on our bed -- we nestled in each other's arms and were soon asleep, relaxing in the afterglow of tremendous lovemaking. Sunday was Palm Sunday and a big day for St. Paul's, and St. Thomas', the Lutheran church in town. In years past, Asbury United Methodist had been a part of a Palm Sunday processional down main street, around the town square and back to the three churches which were in the same block. This year, as last, Asbury would not be part of the procession.
Elizabethton's Asbury was either the first step for a young minister or a place to put old ones out to pasture. With that status, you could pretty well depend on Asbury having a new minister every four years, if not more often. Summer before last, the Methodist conference assigned a new minister to Asbury, Rev Bob -- not Reverend, but Rev -- who was determined to make his exile in the boonies short. He was much into what he called contemporary worship. Keyboards, electric guitars, drums, horns and "happy sappy with Jesus" songs were the new wave at Asbury. Clarisa was chair of the vestry's Ecumenical Relations committee and when Fr. DeBruhl asked her about Asbury's participation in the Palm Sunday procession, she reported Rev Bob had said, '"Parades down main street in queer dresses" wasn't what he was about. As a result, Methodists were generally absent from the procession, although several showed up and chose to walk with St. Paul's or St. Thomas'. Among those was Miss Amy Louise Randolph, of the Virginia Randolphs. Miss Amy Louise and her family had been pillars of the Asbury Methodist church "since conversion under the preaching of Francis Asbury himself," which she made sure any and all knew. Now, she said, it was hard to tell whether it was Sunday at Asbury United Methodist church or Saturday night at a honky tonk. When Rev Bob informed her that contemporary worship was simply following in the footsteps of the founders of the Methodist church, she finally rebelled and showed up at St. Paul's, stating that, after all, John Wesley had died an Anglican so she guessed she could find a place among them. When Fr. DeBruhl became the rector at St. Paul's -- he was the new rector of St. Paul's since he had been around for only three years and would be the new rector for at least five more -- he realized Elizabethton was, surprise! surprise!, conservative. This did not dismay him and he generally walked a safe, conservative path, definitely more in line with Miss Amy Louise's thinking than Rev Bob's. While she was not in favor of having Communion every Sunday and thought the 1928 Book of Common Prayer had it over the '"new'" prayer book which was now only a quarter century old, she decided she would be a "Methodist in exile". She found a pew she liked at St. Paul's and settled in. Of course, having ruled Asbury Methodist for half a century, at least, she found it difficult to take a back seat to St. Paul's lay pope, Mrs. Walter Evans Henry, of the Virginia AND North Carolina Henrys, but they worked out -- somehow -- a compromise. Mrs. Henry would keep the "sacred" side of St. Paul's on the straight and narrow and Miss Amy Louise would take care of the secular. In church politics as well as secular, events create strange bedfellows, and Miss Amy Louise and Clarisa had become fellow workers in the Lord's Vineyard of social concerns.


The civil rights movement in Elizabethton was more like the gentle washing of a beach by an incoming tide than the sweeping of a hurricane. The school had been integrated, not out of some great social concern, but when the black school had been condemned by the state and the white school was in need of very expensive repairs, money dictated it was cheaper to build a single, new school than deal with the old ones. After that, one institution after another fell in the holy wind of change. The country club, naturally, was the last to fall, but even there the admission of African-Americans was a tempest in a teapot. Granted there were still only two black members, a young doctor and a middle-aged lawyer, but then they were about the only African-Americans who had enough money to join. On the other hand, more and more families had African-American friends and took them to the club as guests. Because of how it all came about, civil rights was never a major issue, not major enough to upset much of anything. No, the big social issues were related, not to race, but to poverty.
St. Paul's had maintained a clothing closet for years, and Asbury a food pantry. Rev Bob felt  the food pantry "degraded the poor Jesus loved" and closed it. Well, it was closed, but combined with the clothing closet.  Clarisa and Miss Amy Louise got to know each other when the two were combined into a single operation named A Cup of Water, but generally just called the Cup. Miss Amy Louise was instrumental in getting volunteers to assist those who came for food or clothing wade through the red tape necessary to get help through social agencies. Clarisa had secured the help of a couple of nurses who operated a free clinic once a week. Not to be outdone, Miss Amy Louise got three lawyers to hold a legal clinic once a month, rotating among the three and, without knowing it, the two had laid the groundwork for a revolution in which we would all soon become a part. It had also provided a fulcrum for moving all of Elizabethton and surrounding area.
The revolution actually started Wednesday before Palm Sunday with the distribution of the throw-away newspaper, 'The Elizabethton Town Crier.' The-six page newspaper is worth about what it costs -- nothing. It depends, of course, on ads to stay in business and has little of interest to local folks beyond the ads, a story or two on the front page, the society page and the sports page or, maybe, sports pages, depending on the season. Just about everything else in the rag was taken from a very conservative news service which provided 'canned' editorials, columns, cartoons, etc., most of which had already appeared in 'The Elizabethton Bugle,' the regular newspaper -- well, to call the 'Bugle' a newspaper is to give newspaper a pretty loose definition -- which appeared five days a week. Frankly, since I wasn't interested in sports or society, I seldom, if ever, looked at "Town Crier." Clarisa, however, usually read it carefully and then prepared a letter to the editor which was never printed 'due to lack of space.' I guess everyone had looked at Wednesday's ads and gone shopping for Easter clothes because I heard not a peep about the front page story until Sunday. All the troops were called in for the Palm Sunday processional so John -- he was coming to St. Paul's these days and finally started serving as an acolyte -- joined Justin and me in a Sunday school room to get vested, since the sacristy was too small for the crowd on duty. Nancy and Louise Warren, acolytes from St. Thomas' were joining us this year, the first time St. Thomas' had women acolytes. Susan and Bobbie were also there with ten or so others who made up a choir for special occasions.
"Have you heard about the front page story in the weekly rag?" Bobbie asked, as she slipped a surplice over her head.
"Are you kidding?" Justin responded. "I look to see if our ad is right and that's it. Something special?"
"I don't know who's behind it, but the front page story was about HIV/AIDS in our area. Seems we are outstripping the national average in new cases. Anyway, the article ended up being an attack on gays, the Episcopal church, and anyone else who doesn't think gays should be stoned. The reporter -- I'd never heard of him -- interviewed a couple doctors and the public health nurses and condensed what they had to say in a sentence or two, 'HIV/AIDS is on the rise in our county, especially among young people, some say straight young people.' That said, the rest of the article was quotations and comments from preachers and a couple of others, all of which could be summarized by, 'God hates fags and punishes them with AIDS. They deserve to die!' Such kind Christian hearts."
As we all got lined up for the processional, Justin, who was thurifer again, spooned incense on top the burning charcoal and since we would be out of doors for the beginning of the procession, he was not sparing. Immediately a blue cloud rose as Justin swung the censer. The vested troops were ready and the procession began, moving down the street, around the town hall and back to St. Paul's or St. Thomas' depending on your persuasion. Miss Amy Louise was marching beside Clarisa, waving her palm in a menacing manner as she passed Asbury. I laughed, watching her with her palm, and Clarisa in a special Palm Sunday church hat, when I recalled that ten years ago Miss Amy Louise would never had been caught dead walking beside a 'colored person'.
The processional ended, of course, inside the church and the service continued. As I said, Fr. DeBruhl was more than a little conservative and when he climbed into the pulpit, I expected a typical Palm Sunday sermon. I was sure I was not alone because I could see people settling down for an eyes-open nap. My mind had started to drift even before he opened his mouth. After the usual preliminary bit, Fr. DeBruhl said, "Palm Sunday is a good time to look, not at the triumphal parade of Jesus into Jerusalem, but at what was really going on. It's easy to let the Jesus parade aspect of the event hide that, hide what was really going on. Too often we wave palms and have a grand old time as though the original Palm Sunday was a holiday. It wasn't. In fact, it was a civil rights march -- not about race, but it is not only race which we use to separate the world into us and them. It was about something else, but just as vicious and God-condemned.
"For a few weeks now I have been reading and struggling with The Last Week by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan, and I commend it to you for Holy Week reading. In the picture of Palm Sunday presented by the two Jesus scholars, I see a direct parallel to our own situation." The two point out that first Palm Sunday was a procession in direct contrast to another going on at the same time. While the crowd was welcoming Jesus, another procession was marching into Jerusalem, a processional of imperial power, economic oppression, and religious cynicism which the people did not welcome. Pontius Pilate with the power of imperial Rome was marching into Jerusalem." While I don't have time to go into how things got to be that way, I'd have us realize that the Jesus Palm Sunday processional was but one example of Jesus' identification with the poor, the oppressed, the outcast, the marginal, unlike the procession of Roman imperial power, power which was, in fact, sustained on the backs of those Jesus loved -- the poor, the powerless, the marginalized."
Fr. DeBruhl continued for a minute or two contrasting the two processionals of that Sunday, the Jesus procession and the Roman one into Jerusalem, and had he stopped there, a few would have remembered he "talked about Palm Sunday," and that would be it. But he didn't stop there."We live in a free country, not under the domination of a hated foreign power as did those in that first Palm Sunday processional. We live in a prosperous country, much more so than those first-century Jews could have even imagined. We live in a country where routine medicine would appear nothing less than miraculous than a healing by Jesus to those who waved palms two thousand years ago. We live in a wonderful country which provides a lifestyle those carrying branches that Palm Sunday would dismiss as fantasy. At least some of us do, but some of us do not." Each week, some people who live among us, some of our neighbors who remain invisible, some of the poor and hungry of our community, come to the Cup for food. They are not expecting to be provided with a gourmet meal, but simply food for their family because the cupboard is bare. And before you start the usual protest of those with full bellies that those who come are just lazy and want a handout, I would remind you that judgment belongs to God and when Jesus fed the five thousand, all were fed. They were not separated into the deserving and the undeserving. I'm also sure that some of those work for some of you, yet do not make enough to feed and care for their family properly." Most of us have, at one time or another, dropped a can of something into the collection basket at the back of the church, or tossed in a bag of dry beans and felt good about it. Well, folks, it's not about our feeling good, it's about feeding the hungry and just a can of beef stew or a bag of beans will not cut it."
We bring our castoff clothing to the Cup and those without are clothed and we feel good. But it's not about our feeling good, or spring closet cleaning. It's about clothing the naked.
It's not about having a place to get rid of what we no longer want, of giving out of our over-abundance. The question is when have we clothed the naked Christ because that is what we are told we should do. When we clothe the least of our brothers and sisters, we are clothing the naked Christ." Now I want to get more concrete." Justin leaned over and whispered, "Not likely." Anytime the Clan had talked about a Fr. DeBruhl sermon -- which was not often -- someone would comment that in general it was good, but that we didn't live in the general, but the concrete. We all said at one time or another Fr. DeBruhl needed to learn how to ground generalities, so there was no reason to believe he would ground the generalities he had just spoken.
"We all make fun of 'The Elizabethton Town Crier.' Most of us, if we would admit it, do read the front page, glance at the society page and read the sports articles. And, well, I'm sure we read the obits in the hope that the right people died, but it's a throw-away paper and that's about how much we value it. We all talk about, whether we believe it or not, the necessity of a free press and the power of the press. Well, I have been here three years and that is long enough to realize that the "Town Crier" has never justified its freedom and has never shown any power. In the three years I have been here, if the 'Town Crier' has published anything that makes a difference, I missed it. That is, until this week. For the first time that rag carried a story which may make a difference and we are all going to be the poorer for it.
"When I saw the headlines, 'HIV/AIDS Threat to Our Community,' I thought, 'Great, maybe more people will recognize we have a problem.' I read further and saw that the story got the facts right, what few there were, about the rapid spread of the disease in our region. The fact that the infection rate among young men and women is alarming, was there for all to see. The problem was stated factually, cleanly, without apology. And recognizing the problem is always the first step to its solution.
"That was all in the first few lines. So I read on. The next thing was the blame game. Why was HIV/AIDS on the rise? Sex education in the schools was exposing young people to sex. Say what? I'm not as young as I once was, but I don't remember anyone having to expose me to sex. I pretty much figured that out on my own. Sex education in our school is a farce. Because of the fears of the school board, our kids are given a watered-down, abstinence-only course by the teachers who can be roped into doing it. Contraception cannot be mentioned because when you talk about birth control, girls get pregnant. Yeah, sure. We live in a part of the country where hunting is a major activity and I have never heard that teaching gun safety got people killed. Teach about protection and the necessity for protected sex? Certainly not! What they don't know will keep them out of trouble. Bull! It is killing them!
"Movies and TV came in for a lot of blame, but who's to blame for what children see on TV or watch at the movies? Parents who can barely afford food have to have cable or a dish otherwise their children will be deprived. And where are parents when the kids are at the movies? They are not at the movies. They are free for an hour or two. Set limits? Parental controls? Monitor what children watch? Can't do that. It might warp them. But then blame TV and movies for the violence in our society and for spread of a deadly disease.
"Or is it the Internet which is leading our children into trouble? Is it the Internet which teaches unprotected sex is the only real sex? Maybe, maybe the Internet is leading our children astray. But they have to have access to the Internet and it has to be unsupervised access otherwise they will not be able to keep up in school. Right? Wrong! Who would put a live rattlesnake in a kid's hand and say, 'It's up to you to learn how to handle that thing?' Yet we allow our children unlimited access to the Internet which, like most things in this world, is neither good or bad. It is our use of it that makes it so." And as much as we would all like to have it otherwise, there is very little you and I can do about parents. Parents will pretty much be the parents they will be, regardless of anything we say. Good parents will make efforts to educate their children and keep an eye on them. Bad parents don't and there's little we can do about that. Or can we? Can parents not be educated, helped in the task of parenting? How do we go about making that happen?
"But the finger-pointing occupied only a couple additional paragraphs and granting that all said is true -- which I do not -- it was inane enough to be ignored, as we have ignored the stuff in the 'Crier' before. But the rest of the article, which filled half a page, I cannot and will not tolerate without speaking out against it. As a Christian, I will not stand by while, in the name of Lord Jesus, the so-called Christians and self-proclaimed spokesmen for God spew out hate as they did in that article.
"Hear this, hear this clearly, we have long ago given up the idea that God zaps people with disease as punishment for sin. You can't have it both ways. If God punishes with HIV/AIDS those who engage in sexual activity we do not approve, then the other diseases in our area: number one, cancer; number two, cerebrovascular -- stroke; number three, diabetes -- the list could go on -- must be punishment for other sins. No, disease is caused by germs, virus, genetics, sure, some lifestyle choices, but they are never punishment. The young man or woman who engages in unprotected sex with an infected partner may be infected with a number of diseases, not because God is punishing them, but because they are not protected from infection by an infected partner -- because of their ignorance, their stupidity. And the infected partner is showing a total and complete lack of concern for the sex partner. And that's what they are doing, having sex. Do not dare call such an act of unconcern making love."The one statement I can make without qualification is that God hates no-one, no-one. God does not hate homosexuals or heterosexuals. God hates no-one. Hate is a human emotion, a human invention. If there is an original sin, it is hate. In fact, I am convinced there is only one sin, only one, and that is hate -- hatred of the neighbor because he is different, because she is perceived as a threat, because he has something I envy, because she is... add your own particular prejudice. Finally there is hatred of the self because of what we do and what we fail to do. And all that, all hatred, is finally hatred of God because it is hatred of His creatures and creation, of what He called into being and loves.
"No doubt that poisonous issue of the 'Crier' will continue to poison our community. The self-righteous, sanctimonious folk of our town and county will continue to shout 'God hates fags,' and 'HIV/AIDS is God's punishment for queers.' No doubt other hate slogans will appear. Slogans will abound.
"Before this week is over, we will see Jesus crucified and, don't be confused, he was crucified by hate and we crucify him again when we hate. It is up to us to witness to the fact that hate did not and cannot win and that love triumphs over all evil. We'll go though the usual services of Holy Week but, while we do that, I beg of you: look at the suffering of our brothers and sisters, the poor, the hungry, the outcast, the neglected, the abused, and, yes, those who suffer because of whom they love, some through no fault of their own and, yes, some who have made unwise choices. Be especially attentive to those suffering from the ravages of HIV/AIDS and those who love and care for them and suffer as someone they love and care for dies, slowly, painfully." Right now, beyond announcing there will be noonday prayers held each day next week asking God's guidance and praying for forgiveness, I do not know where St. Paul's is headed. Clarisa Johnson and Amy Louise Randolph have decided to do something about the situation. They will be calling on you, suggesting ways in which you can join in practicing love instead of hate, inclusiveness and not exclusiveness. I hope many of you have ideas as well. I will be calling on the vestry to create concrete responses to our concrete situations. Above all, I'll call on you to join in the demonstration of the love of Christ any way you can. Amen."
I was surprised when several, very non-Episcopal-like "Amens! were heard in response.
Not the usual Palm Sunday sermon and I wasn't sure what the reaction would be. For me, I was surprised at 'don't rock the boat' DeBruhl's transformation into someone who had the potential of becoming a tiger.