Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Drama Club-Part 1 (The Jock) blog post #380

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Got a lot of hits on last week’s post (My Personal Hero). Hong Kong particularly liked it. I had more visitors from there than I did the US. Hope they enjoyed it.

Some time ago, I wrote a series of 5 stories under the title of The Drama Club, each with a subtitle. I pulled them out and took a look at them, deciding I want to publish them as blog posts. Here’s the first one, called “The Jock.”

Part 1 – The Jock

          A tricky, fast-paced scene, the kind Jarrod Gray liked. He got the lighting right more often than the actors hit their lines correctly. This was only the second play of the year at Casa Verde College, but he’d worked hard in high school and summer stock to learn how the spots created moods and hid flaws in both sets and actors. Now he was the Drama Club’s lighting director. Not bad for a freshman. He’d outfitted the superstructure the way he wanted, an easy chair placed so he could watch the stage below with hand-held remotes for the lights and the curtain. He even had a mattress in case he wanted to nap or even sleep here.
          Jarrod was never more alive than when dancing across the superstructure, focusing and coordinating lights without a fumble, a slip, or a mistake. He labored alone among the battens and baffles high above the stage to enhance the efforts of budding thespians without a trace of jealousy or malice, doing his best for each.
          Jarrod wasn’t impressed by the lightweight comedy the Drama Club was producing this season, although he liked Rick Moore in the male lead. Rick was Mediterranean with dark skin and hair so black it refracted the light, requiring a deft touch from Jarrod. A senior and the handsomest man on campus, Rick seemed more comfortable on the football field. Still… the guy’s spectacular looks made up for a lot.
          Three days before opening, Jarrod’s world shifted. Both Rick and the female lead Shelly Weldon were on stage during most of the play except for a stretch in the second act. From the catwalks above the stage, Jarrod watched as they exited right and strode into the wings. Since there were no lighting changes programmed, he moved quietly along the sky walk, following the cute couple to a small area cut off from view of the others by heavy black curtains.
          As soon as Rick started undressing the girl, Jarrod scampered for his camera. By the time he reached the area directly above them again, Shelly was stretched out on a pile of stacked canvas, and Rick was going at it, full steam ahead.
          When it was over, Jarrod rushed back to the lighting control center, but in his haste, he banged the camera against one of the support rails. Safely back in his control booth, he discovered he had taken a whole roll of film.

          Jarrod was usually in the superstructure over the stage before anyone else arrived for rehearsal in order to check his lights, run through his controls, and fine-tune the settings. An hour before the curtain went up on dress rehearsal, he heard someone on the ladder and was astonished to see Rick climb into the superstructure.
          “So this is where you hang out.” The senior’s deep voice turned Jarrod’s knees to water. “Man, you can see everything from up here.” Rick indicated a catwalk. “How far back does this go?”
          “I can go all over the top of the stage from up here.” Remembering striking the camera against the catwalk the other day, Jarrod nervously dropped a pair of electrical pliers. As he knelt to pick them up. Rick’s voice froze him where he was.
          “Did you get an eyeful, you little fucker?”
          Jarrod looked up. Rick’s groin was right in his face. “Uh. Of what?”
          “Of me screwing Shelly, that’s what. I heard you up there. It’s a wonder you didn’t slobber all over us. Well, did I do it right?”
          “It was awesome!” Jarrod blurted before he could stop himself.
          “I knew it! You spied, you bastard!” Rick took a step forward, forcing Jarrod hard against the wall. The rough denim of Rick’s jeans pressed against Jarrod’s face. “Well, you want it so bad, you’re going to get it!”

          Jarrod operated the lighting almost by remote control during the first act. His mind whirled at the thought of what had happened a mere hour ago. Conflicted—shouldn’t he outraged?—he rubbed his bruised lips, yo-yoing between resentment and joy.
          Before he drew the curtain at the end of the first act, he realized he’d been studying Rick, seeing again in his mind’s eye what was covered by the jock’s costume. Jarrod’s heart took a leap. Rick had come to him. Exposed himself. Looked to a lowly freshman lighting director to satisfy his desires. There probably wasn’t another guy on campus who could say they’d had Rick Moore. Jarrod almost grunted aloud when he realized the drama club’s jock had chosen him over Shelly.
          After rehearsal, he hoped Rick would scale the ladder so they could discuss the play… and discover more about one another. He waited an hour after everyone else had left before coming down and going to his dorm room.
          The next day, Jarrod worked for an hour rigging a camera he could operate remotely. If Rick came back, he could take wonderful pictures they’d share.
          Opening night, he heard a foot on the ladder before the curtain went up. When Rick’s head appeared at the opening, Jarrod thought his heart would burst.
          “Get undressed,” the star ordered without preamble.
          Unhappy at the jock’s tone, Jarrod considered ignoring him for all of thirty seconds before tearing his T-shirt over his head and stepping out of his sweatpants and shorts, growing a bit uncertain over standing naked until Rick dropped his pants. A shiver played up Jarrod’s back. They were going to explore one another. Get familiar, more intimate. Wonderful.
          When Rick moved, it wasn’t anything like Jarrod had imagined. The jock threw him on his stomach across the mattress, and all Jarrod felt was pain… at first. And then he realized the pressure of the jock’s body moving against him held a new kind of sensuality. Seeing the remote control for the camera within reach, Jarrod grabbed it and pressed twice.
          Rick froze. “What was that?”
          “A… a couple of lights… blew,” Jarrod panted, anxious for Rick to resume. “Have… to change them before curtain time.”
          Why had he lied? As Rick started thrusting again, Jarrod forgot about it in the wonder of the moment.
          Then Rick ruined it all as he got up to dress. “You liked it, didn’t you, you little fairy!”

          The play was a success. Rick, his lines and timing finally down, was the hit of the comedy. Jarrod couldn’t take his eyes off the tall, manly form and forgave his lover’s language and coarseness a hundred times over as he waited impatiently for the next opportunity to share an intimacy. But there wasn’t one.
          After the end of the play’s run, Jarrod desperately sought to keep in touch with his lover. He put himself in the jock’s path at every opportunity. Rick studiously ignored him.
          When Jarrod’s roommate went on a weekend trip; he left a message on Rick’s cell phone inviting him over. No response, Jarrod trudged across campus to the frat house. Rick, looking more handsome than ever in cutoffs and a sleeveless T-shirt, scowled upon answering Jarrod’s timid knock.
          “What the fuck you doing here? Get outa here! Leave me alone!”
          Before the door slammed in his face, Jarrod heard a voice asking if it was the little queer from the theater. It was all he could do to keep from running. His face and ears red from embarrassment, Jarrod imagined everyone he passed was laughing at him. Head down, eyes on the step in front of him, he fled the frat house and ran all the way to the theater. Disconsolate, Jarrod climbed a rope by the strength of his arms alone up into the superstructure, into his world where he curled up on the mattress and cried, leaking tears where once semen had flowed.
          Jarrod’s mortification matured into fear and then anger, the adult stage of his transformation. He became a plotter, a schemer. One day, he left an unsealed, unaddressed envelope with prints of the two photos on Rick’s chem lab desk. Jarrod watched from the window as the senior arrived and opened the envelope. Those fantastic black eyes bugged before Rick frantically slid the photos back into the envelope. To Jarrod’s surprise, the jock gathered his books and put on his coat.
          Half-panicked, Jarrod rushed across the quadrangle toward Thespian Hall. He didn’t bother with the ladder; he hauled himself up the rope hand-over-hand. Within two minutes, Rick’s menacing figure stood on the top rung of the ladder.
          “Hi, lover,” Jarrod said more jauntily than he felt.
          “Shut your dirty mouth! What the fuck’s this?” He held up the envelope.
          “Mementos,” Jarrod answered.
          “Those fucking flashes! They weren’t spots, were they? I’m gonna hurt you!” Rick took a step forward.
          Jarrod managed to hold onto a shred of calm. “You can do that but think of all the trouble if you do. Those pictures are bound to come out. In fact, I’ll make sure they do when I explain the assault to the police. Wonder if the Casa Verde Student Voice would print them?”
          Rick halted in his tracks. “You wouldn’t spread pictures of yourself like that all over campus.”
          Jarrod shrugged. “Why not? It shows me getting it on with the big man on campus. Not only that, it shows the big man enjoying it, even though he doesn’t wanna be seen with the little queer from the theater.”
          “You’re bluffing!”
          “Am I? Why don’t you come over here and get undressed? All the way this time.”
          “Yeah, that too. But right now, I just want to look.”
          From the smoldering anger in Rick’s black eyes, Jarrod feared he’d gone too far. But the bigger boy got control of himself and wordlessly began to strip.
          Jarrod smiled. This was going to work. With any luck, he’d turn the macho motherfucker queer before the semester was over.
How about that? The bully gets bullied. “Little fairies” all over the world can take heart. The next installment has a different take as we meet Jarrod in his sophomore year at Casa Grande College.

Until next week.

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