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THE STRAIGHT DOPE

Gay sex, straight sex, torrid romance and true love.

THE STRAIGHT DOPE

By Joe Reister © 2018

 

Table of Contents

Prologue: Two Years, Eight Months And Nine Days Ago

Chapter 1: Yes, There Is A Gay Rodeo

Chapter 2: Back In The Real World

Chapter 3: Post Game Report

Prologue: Two Years, Eight Months And Nine Days Ago

 

The room was dark and the sheets were soft.  Everyone was breathing hard and life was good: well, maybe not for everybody.

“Yes,” a man said suddenly.  “Yes.  Right.  There.  Oh.”

A little laugh caught in another man’s throat.

“Oh, yes.  That’s it.  Yes.  More.  Right there.  More.  Yes, right there.”

“Yes.  Okay.  I got it.” The other man laughed again.  “I’ll see what I can do.”

“Yes, oh,” the man said through a long moan that echoed throughout the room.  The other man smiled and sat up as the first man trembled on the bed, grabbing hold of it. 

“Happy?” the other man said with another laugh.

“I don’t know.”  The man caught his breath.

“You don’t know?” the other man said.  “That sounded pretty happy to me.”

“Maybe too happy.”

“Too happy.”  The other man lay down.  “What are you talking about?  It all felt pretty good to me.”

“I’ve got to go.”  The man stood up.  He fumbled in the dark for his clothes, pulling some on.

“What?  We just got started.  I’ve got cherries and whip cream.”

“Cherries and whip cream?”  The man fumbled with his pants.  “I can’t handle that.  That’s too much.”

“Too much?  Too much what?  Happiness?

“Bye.”

“Bye?  You’re not even dressed.  Let me turn on the lights and we can…”

The door opened and the man slipped through, shutting it behind him.

“What?”  The other man turned on a light, seeing the man’s jacket and watch on the floor.  “What is going on?”


Chapter 1: Yes, There Is A Gay Rodeo

 

“Yee ha.  This is the greatest thing ever, John Paul.  Who knew you could have so much fun at a rodeo.”

“Not me, Puck” John Paul said, noting the looks in the stands around them.  “But Richard and I are so glad you could make it, right Richard?”

“What’s going on here?” Richard said, staring at a cowboy and cowgirl wrestle a cow into the dirt as a drag queen sauntered up and sat on it.  “John Paul, this isn’t a rodeo.  There weren’t any drag queens in the old west?”

“Well, not in the history books.”  John Paul laughed.  “But it’s a gay rodeo.  What did you expect, the Marlboro Man and Clint Eastwood?”

“Clint Eastwood’s going to be here?”  Puck looked around them.

“No, Puck.  I’m guessing Clint won’t be showing up.  Although you never know.”

“No kidding, John Paul?”  Puck still looked.  “Really?”

“Why did we bring you along again?”  John Paul shook his head.

“Because you had an extra ticket, because I didn’t have anything else to do and because you wanted to spend time with your favorite brother.”  Puck smiled.

“And aren’t we all having a ball?”  John Paul rolled his eyes and finished his half glass of wine.

“Good thing you don’t have any other siblings, eh.”  Puck winked.

“Eh.”  John Paul laughed and handed his brother the empty glass.

“If you’re done you want to tell me what’s going on?”  Richard pointed as the drag queen sat on the now standing cow and the cowboy and girl pulled it slowly across a line in the dirt.  The crowd went wild, and Richard shook his head but smiled

John Paul watched and smiled too.  “Told you we’d have fun.”

“Can we see what else is around?”  Puck looked past the drag queen and the crowd to the multiple vendors outside of the makeshift stadium.  “This is kind of goofy.”

“Sure.”  John Paul nodded and turned to Puck.  “You want that Coke now?”

“You’re the best older brother a guy could ever want,” Puck said with his own smile.

“Jesus.”  John Paul closed his eyes.

“Mom wouldn’t like that.”  Puck gave him a look.

“What does a gay cowboy do if he’s really good?” Richard said, still watching the bull and the drag queen.  “Do they bother with this amateur stuff?”

“Some of these guys are pretty good, Richard.”

“Yes, but they’re just pretty good, Puck.”  Richard shrugged.  “I’d imagine if they wanted to make it big they’d hit the real rodeo circuit.  There is a real rodeo circuit, right?”

“Sure, I guess,” John Paul shrugged too.

“There is.”  Puck nodded.

John Paul and Richard both turned to him.

“I’ve seen it on ESPN.”  Puck stood up.

“Rodeo’s a sport?”  Richard said.

“Yes.  I mean, look at those guys.”  Puck pointed to the cowboy and cowgirl struggling against the cow.  “That can’t be easy.  Cows are huge.  I’ve seen them up close and personal and dealing with them one to one is harder than any sport I’ve played.”

“Even hockey?”  John Paul nudged him.

“Let’s not go crazy.”  Puck nudged back.  “But moving cows around and milking them is harder than the wimpy American baseball, basketball or football.  Those animals weigh a ton, and they’re not just going to follow orders.  Didn’t you watch what was going on today?”

“So, then if you’re really good then you’d go to the major leagues on ESPN?” Richard said.

“Or Fox Sports Network.”  Puck nodded.

“Yes, I guess they would.”  John Paul looked back at the corrals.  “But, none of these guys are kicking ass.”

“Not in the rodeo.”  Richard chuckled.  “But I’m betting a lot of people score here, huh.”

“I think that’s the whole point, hon.”  John Paul chuckled too.

“I thought we were going to check out the rest of the rodeo now?”  Puck pointed to the big tent beyond the corrals.

John Paul and Richard both looked at each other and then turned to Puck.

“Sure.  I’m good to go now that the drag queen stuff is over.”  John Paul stood up.  “I don’t think you’ll be into the rest of the gay rodeo, Puck, but let’s take a look.”

Puck nodded and led them down and away from the grandstand.  He smiled at the many winks and numerous cowboy hats, not noticing the lingering stares or tight jeans as he headed to the music coming from the big tent with the Coke sign on it.

“I can’t believe people pay to see this stuff.”  Richard stared.

“I thought you’d be enjoying yourself?”  John Paul grinned as he watched Richard check out below the belt buckles.  “Lexington has all of those horses.”

“Yes,” Richard looked at him.  “But that’s horse racing farms, with Arabs, Brits and a last few Kentuckians prepping for the Derby.  I don’t think I’ve even seen anyone other than jockeys and rich folks ride a horse, and they weren’t cowboys or openly gay that’s for sure.”

“So you never saw horses or cows as a kid?”

“I grew up in the suburbs, John.”  Richard shook his head.  “Lexington is a thriving metropolis, or at least a thriving pseudo metropolis.  The only time I saw any animals was at the petting zoo.”

“Not even dogs or cats?” John Paul said.

“I’m allergic remember?”

“Sorry.”  John Paul nodded.  “But didn’t you even watch Westerns growing up?  Gunsmoke or Bonanza?  What about John Wayne?”

“No.” Richard started humming an Isaac Hayes song.  “It was Shaft, Star Wars, and Star Trek.  You Canadians are the only folks who watched that corny western stuff in the 90s.”

“Yes, because the Lexington suburbs are so exciting?”  John Paul gave him a look.

“Compared to Canada they are, baby.”  Richard pointed to Puck.

“Okay.”  John Paul turned to his brother.  “You might have something there.”

“Hey, they have dancing.”  Puck stopped everything and ran into the big tent where one hundred people were line dancing.

“What did I just say?”  Richard slapped his forehead.

“I don’t think Puck’s a fair example.”  John Paul sighed as Puck ran to the dance line, got a nod of approval and jumped right in, immediately two stepping and sliding to the right with the crowd.

“You can take the kid out of Canada, but you can’t take Canada out of the kid.”  Richard smiled.

“Thank you, Dr. Jones.”  John Paul shook his head at his brother, but smiled too.

“All I’m saying is that I never took dancing lessons as a kid.”  Richard gave John Paul a nudge. 

“Too busy going to the mall?”

“Something like that.”  Richard nodded.  “Showing off and checking out everyone was what I did in my teen years.”

“Just like here.”  John Paul pointed to a leering cowboy.

“I’m glad to see Puck fits in.”  Richard walked into the tent and noticed a different cowboy checking out Puck.  “It’s that good old Canadian goodness at work.”

“That does look hard.”  John Paul stared at his brother matching the cowboy’s two-step.  “I couldn’t do that.”

“You didn’t take dancing lessons?”

“No, our folks didn’t have any money when I was ten, and I think my dad was steering me in another direction.”

“Trying to keep you on the straight and narrow?”

“Trying.”  John Paul laughed.  “I played hockey and lacrosse like everyone else, but he said no to rugby.”

“The second most homoerotic sport ever.”  Richard shook his head.  “Funny since your dad’s so cool about things now.” 

“I know,” John Paul said, his eyes still on Puck.  “That’s what fifteen years of adjustment will do.”

“I hear that,” Richard said and the music stopped.  He and John Paul watched the cowboy next to Puck. 

“You’re really good.” The cowboy offered Puck a hand. 

“Thanks.”  Puck shook it.  “I just had to pick up on the pattern and then everything else fell into place.”

“I saw that.”  The cowboy let go of Puck’s hand slowly.  “Name’s Ted.”

“Puck.”  He gave a big smile.

“Puck huh?  That stands out.”

“Yeah, well, my real name is Calvin, but I’ve always gone by Puck.”  He grinned.  “It’s not something people forget.

“I can see why.”  Ted smiled even bigger.  “You look good.  Real good.”

“Well, thanks.”  Puck nodded.  “I run almost every day.  Trying to keep my girlish figure, you know.”

“Yes indeed.”  Ted looked Puck up and down.  “Here with anyone?

“Just my brother and Richard.”  Puck waved to John Paul, who tried to wave him away from Ted.

“And they’re together.”  Ted noticed John Paul and Richard standing right next to each other, but kept his eyes on Puck.

“Going strong on two and a half years now.”  Puck gave his brother a thumb’s up.

“So, you’re not here with anyone then?”  Ted winked.

“Yeah, like I told you.”  Puck made a face and now noticed John Paul’s beckoning wave.  “John Paul and Richard.”

“I don’t suppose you’re up for a ride are you.”  Ted wriggled his hips.

“What?”  Puck looked at Ted again.

“What do you say I give you a ride, at your place if you like?”

“I don’t get you.”  Puck squinted at John Paul face palm.  “I’m heading back with John Paul and Richard.”

Ted’s eyes narrowed on Puck.  “Okay.”  He licked his lips.  “But maybe you’d be interested in dancing with me later, alone, in a horizontal position, at my place or yours?  Whichever works for you.”

Puck swallowed hard.  “Um.  I, uh, think you’ve got the wrong idea, mister.”

“It’s Ted.”

“I think you’ve got the wrong idea, Ted.”  Puck looked past him and right at John Paul, watching his brother mouth the words, ‘About time.’  “I’m here with John Paul and Richard.”

“And I’m here with friends, too.”  Ted shrugged.  “But that doesn’t mean we can’t meet new people.”

“Right.”  Puck looked away from his brother and back at Ted.  “Well, I’ve got to go, Ted.  Thanks for the dance, and have a nice day.”

“Right.”  Ted frowned as Puck walked away.  “You have a nice day too.  Idiot.”

“And we have a winner,” John Paul said as Puck walked over.  “Yes, indeed, someone discovered that there are men on the prowl at the gay rodeo, and that dancing, like with women, is also foreplay for men.”

Puck threw his hands up in the air.  “How was I…?”

“How long have you lived in DuPont Circle, kid?”  Richard gave him a look.

“A couple years.”  Puck looked back.  “You know that.” 

“And you’re still slow as molasses about gay men?”  Richard nodded.

“And twice as thick.” John Paul grinned.

“Hey, I was just being friendly.”  Puck threw up his hands.  “I didn’t think…”

“But four times as sweet,” John Paul and Richard said together.

“Great.” Puck forced a smiled.  “Thanks.”

“You know we love you.”  Richard put his arm around him

“Do you know why women aren’t as forward as that?”  Puck looked right at them.

“You’re not paying them.”  Richard shrugged.

“They don’t want to get pregnant.”  John Paul nodded.

“They expect men to make the first move.”  Richard pointed to all of the men around them talking to other men.

“Yeah, well, I’ve made the first move.”  Puck noticed and started walking away.  “But never like that.”

“Puck, you might not have picked up on this, but a lot of men in the gay community would be considered by the rest of the world to be …”  John looked around at all the talking cowboys and then at Richard.  “How should I put this?”

“Slutty, easy and ready for action twenty-four seven.”  Richard laughed.

“Yes, I think you could say that.”  John Paul caught up to Puck.

“You were never like that were you?”  Puck looked back at his brother.

Richard laughed again.  “Boy, if only you knew.”

“That’s a line I’d prefer not to cross with my younger brother,” John Paul said to Richard and led them out of the tent.  “Okay?”

“Yeah, and that’s fine with me too,” Puck said.  “I don’t want to lie to Mom.”

“I’m glad to hear that.”  John Paul gave him a squeeze.

“Why are you so surprised by all this anyway?”  Richard caught up to them.

“What are you talking about?”  Puck turned to him.

“You straights do the same thing to women?” Richard said as they made the way out of the rodeo.  “I remember back in college when I still had straight allusions I walked up to numerous cheerleaders, skipped the formalities and asked them to just get it on.”

“And they said?”  John Paul looked at him.

“They mostly slapped me across the face and said, ‘no,’ but you’d be surprised how much school spirit some of them had.”  Richard smiled.

“I’m surprised it took you so long to come out.”  John Paul smiled too.

“What can I tell you?”  Richard shrugged.  “I was a popular guy.”

“You see I can’t do that.”  Puck stared at them.

“And that’s why you have the time to be the only straight guy at the gay rodeo.”  John Paul pointed to everyone around them.

“Hey, I wanted to hang out with you guys.”  Puck focused on only John Paul and Richard.

“And we’re glad you came,” Richard said.  “But I think I’ve experienced enough fake western culture to last a lifetime.”  He patted John Paul on the shoulder.  “Let’s go home, okay?”

“Sounds good.”  John Paul headed to the exit.

 

Chapter 2: Back In The Real World

 

Puck, John Paul and Richard stepped into the parking lot. 

“Well, well, well,” John Paul said.  “Look what we have here.”

A man and a woman in khakis and golf shirts stood out front trying and failing to hand out brochures.

“Yeah.”  Puck noticed the young, blonde woman and started forward.  “Look.”

“Are those protesters?”  Richard raised an eyebrow.

“That’s Washington, DC, for you.”  John Paul nodded.  “We have a protest about everything.”

“I didn’t think the rodeo was big enough to register with animal rights activists.”  Richard glanced over at the trailers full of horses and cows.

“I think it’s about the cocks, not the bulls.”  John Paul pointed to the couple.

“Baby, do they really think they’re going to get converts?”  Richard shook his head.  “They’ve got some balls.”

“Yes, but they don’t know how to use them?”  John Paul laughed.

“What?”  Puck gave a look.

“Hey, I know that guy.”  John Paul looked right at the man and laughed.  “Jerry Robertson.  How the heck are you?”

Jerry looked back blankly at John Paul.  “Would you like a brochure, sir?”

“As I live and breathe, you don’t remember me do you?”  John Paul stared.

“Should I?”  Jerry stared back.

“Three years ago.”  John Paul took and gave the brochure to Richard.  “We enjoyed the love that shan’t speak its name.”

“I am sorry.”  Jerry shook his head.  “But I think you have me confused with someone else.  Or…

“And I can see I didn’t quite have the effect I thought.”  John Paul sighed, glancing at Richard who gave him a shrug.

Jerry held up a second brochure.  “I’m not sure who you are, but…”

“You don’t remember me at all?”  John Paul threw up his hands.  “We…”

“So much for your sterling reputation.”  Richard laughed.

“I am from a group called the Straight Path.”  Jerry held up the second brochure.  “I would be happy to talk to you about any problems you might have.  We have a program that…”

“You’re kidding me?”  John Paul stepped back.  “Three years ago we met at the Starbucks on Connecticut Avenue, just north of Mass Ave.  I had on a teal shirt and black jeans.  We had iced coffees and then went back to…”

“Where do you all get off advocating a cure for homosexuality outside of a gay rodeo?”  Richard stepped forward, dropping the brochure on the ground.

“Our program of guidance is very successful.”  Jerry looked down at the brochure.  “We’ve turned around over one hund…”

“Do you think that the people here are going to buy what you’re selling?”  Richard stepped on the brochure.  “Look at the crowd.  I’ve never seen a queerer group in my life, and that includes last year’s vacation in San Francisco.”

Jerry looked around but didn’t move.

“Is that how you got back into the closet?”  John Paul plucked another brochure out of Jerry’s hand, opening it.

“We have a strong program that allows people to talk about their urges and convert them into something purer.”  Jerry nodded.

“You definitely sang out your urges.”  John Paul nodded back.  “I remember you asking for more… more…”

Jerry smiled.  “We help people focus on their doubts and guide them toward the straight path.”

“Doesn’t genetics have something to do with being gay?”  Richard eyed Jerry and then turned to John Paul.  “Didn’t we read about that in the Economist like ten years ago?”

“Twenty and it was People, but yes, it said we were out of luck.”  John Paul smirked.  “You should check out the article, Jer.”

“The Straight Path has helped dozens of people overcome their baser urges and live productive lives.”  Jerry turned over the brochure in John Paul’s hands.

“Productive lives?”  Richard took another step forward.  “I work for the FBI and volunteer twice a month at a homeless shelter.”  His face tightened.  “How productive do you want me to be?” 

“Did I cross the line with the cherries, Jer?” 

“We’d be glad to help you.”  Jerry pointed to the rodeo.  “Homosexuality doesn’t have to be a lifestyle…”

“This is one of your many conquests before you settled down?” Richard gave Jerry a once over and laughed loudly.  “Baby, I am not impressed.”

“That was a long time ago.”  Jerry frowned, stepping back.  “And I only crossed the line once.”

John Paul watched Jerry’s face sink more.  “Well, I’m glad to see you at least remember me.”

“Would you like more information?”  Jerry brought the remaining brochures closer to his chest.  “Our program has a very high success rate.”

“Yes, I can see how you attract people.”  Richard turned to Puck smiling at the woman with brochures.

“Hi, how are you?” Puck said.

“I’m good, thank you,” the woman said and smiled back.  “I’m having a hard time handing out this material, but it’s a beautiful day and there’s a lot of interesting stuff to see.”

A large man in leather chaps, thong and vest with multiple piercing and a goatee walked past them.

“Yeah, I see what you mean.”  Puck pointed to the man.

The woman kept staring.

“You’ve got to wonder where a guy like that works.”  Puck shook his head.  “I don’t see him as the 9-5 office type you know.  At least not in any office I’ve worked at.”

“Me either.” 

“There were a lot of guys and even a few women dressed like that inside.”  Puck nodded.  “I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many tight jeans, cowboy hats and boots in my life, not even on TV.”

“The whole thing seems pretty goofy.”  The woman smiled more.  “A gay rodeo?”  She laughed.  “It sounds like a supermodel barbecue.”

“Yeah, I thought so too.”  Puck’s face straightened out.  “But the guy selling Coke told me that somebody got killed last year by an angry bull.”

The woman’s eyes went wide.  “You’re kidding me?”

“No, bulls are pretty big.”  Puck shook his head.  “I wouldn’t want to be in the coral with one of them.”

“I can see why.”  The woman nodded.

Puck bit his lip.  “So, what do you do for fun other than hang out at the county fairgrounds?”

“Fun?” the woman said and looked at Puck.  “No one’s asked me what I do for fun since I moved to Washington.  All I ever talk about is work or politics.” 

“I bet.”  Puck smiled.  “But what do you like to do?”

The woman stared at him for a moment and then smiled.  “I like softball.  I used to be on a team in college, second base.”

“Cool.”  Puck nodded.  “I’m on a team that plays down on the Mall.” 

“Really?”  The woman nodded too.

“Yeah.”  Puck smiled some more.  “You should stop by and throw the ball a little.”

“That’s sounds cool.”

Puck saw John Paul and Richard out of the corner of his eye.  “I’m heading out, but if it’s not too weird or uncomfortable let me get your number and I’ll call you he next time we play.  And just to be safe, you can have my card too.”

“Okay.”  The woman reached into her purse. 

“I’m not always in the office, so let me give you my cell too.”  Puck scribbled on the back of his card.  “If you’re interested that is.”

“That sounds good.”  The woman smiled, pointing to her card.  “My cell is on my card.”

“Cool.”

“Puck, we’re heading home, cowboy,” John Paul said.        

“Yeah, giddy up, boy,” Richard said.  “Let’s ride.”

“I’ve got to go.”  Puck turned around, waving to Jon Paul and Richard, but looked back at the woman.  “They’re my ride, but let’s get in touch.”

“I look forward to it,” the woman said and smiled, watching Puck catch up with John Paul and Richard. 

Jerry walked over to her. 

“Any luck?”

The woman held up Puck’s business card, still smiling.  “He gave me his number.”

“And you think you can straighten him out, right?”

“I think so.”  The woman gave Puck a long look.  “That’s what we’re supposed to do, right?

Puck saw her look and smiled.

She smiled back.

“That guy’s going to get his butt kicked if he keeps spouting that kind of garbage,” Richard said.

“You find people like that wherever you go,” John Paul said. 

“Still.”

“Helen seemed really nice.”  Puck held up the business card with her name on it.

“No duh.”  Richard glanced back at Jerry and Helen.  “Even John and I see that.”

“No, really.”  Puck smiled.  “She was very friendly.”

“I’m sure.”  Richard nudged Puck.  “So, did you ask her out?”

“No, but she gave me her number.”  Puck smiled again.

“Excellent.”  John Paul patted his brother on the back.  “There might be hope for you after all.”

“I thought there already was,” Puck said and elbowed his brother with a grin.

“There is,” John Paul said and both he and Richard laughed.  “Or we wouldn’t have let you come to the rodeo with us, cowboy.”


Chapter 3: Post Game Report  

 

Puck took a sip of beer and shook his head, looking back at a man with large eyes and a woman rolling hers.  “No, a gay rodeo doesn’t involve naked asses and riding crops; none that I saw at least.  It’s an actual rodeo, with horses, cows…”

“No sheep?” the man said.

“No sheep, Milo.  That’s bestiality.” 

“I bet there were a lot of cowboy hats and boots, though,” the woman said.

“Yeah, Grace, and tight jeans like you wouldn’t believe.”

“Jordache?” Milo said.

“Not that bad.  I stood out, though, in shorts and steel toes with my Oilers Cap.”

“How did JP and Richard look?" 

“I don’t know, Milo: like they always do; stylishly guppie.”

“What a stupid question.”  Grace punched Milo in the arm.  “What did you think they’d do, dress up like, Clint Eastwood?”

“Hey, it’s legitimate.”  Milo rubbed his arm.  “I still can’t believe there’s actually a gay rodeo.”

“You’d be surprised, Milo.”  Puck nodded.  “It goes to all the big cities; Chicago, Cleveland, New York…”

“San Francisco?”

“Yeah, San Francisco.  I think that’s where it started.”

“I kind of figured.”  Milo sipped his beer.

“It’s funny,” Grace said.  “I don’t think of rodeos being anywhere except Texas and the sticks, but I bet it just tours the big cities.”  

“Makes sense since Puck just said it.”  Milo shook his head.  “I’d pay to see a cow.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen one.”

“You’re an idiot.”  Grace sipped at her beer without even looking back at Milo.  “You’ve lived in the Washington area your whole life and you wouldn’t know a cow from a horse if they both bit you on the ass.”

“And you would, Brooklyn girl?”  Milo looked right at her.

“Hey, at least I know what hamburgers are made out of.”  Grace turned to him.

“I knew that.”  Milo nodded.

“Uh huh.”  Grace sighed, looking at Puck.

“Glad to see you guys had so much fun when I was at the rodeo.”

“Don’t get me started.”  Grace took another, larger sip of beer.

“How can this rodeo support itself?”  Milo looked at Puck’s ticket stub.  “I mean it’s not cheap, but I’d never heard of it before you mentioned it yesterday.”

“A lot of people were there,” Puck said.

“Probably scouting booty.”  Milo smiled.

“Yeah.”  Puck took another sip of his beer, swallowing slowly.  “There was definitely a lot of that.”

“Somebody give you the queer eye?”  Grace leaned forward.

“I got more than that.”  Puck put down his glass and leaned back.  “I think this guy wanted me to bend over and cough.”

Milo laughed.

Puck gave him a look.  “I didn’t realize guys were that forward.”

“Oh yeah, it’s charming.”  Grace laughed, taking another sip.  “I can’t get enough of it.”

“Yeah, I wasn’t too thrilled.”  Puck shook his head.

“That’s great.”  Milo handed back the ticket stub.  “But even if a lot of people show up, it seems like you’d need a huge crowd to support a traveling rodeo, and I doubt that the Montgomery Fair Grounds have enough room to bring in the dollars they’d need.”

“What can I tell you?”  Puck shrugged.  “It exists.”

“It’s not just the numbers attending either, Milo.”  Grace rubbed her fingers together.  “It’s also the money they spend.  Most gay men have a butt load of cash.”

“Butt load?”  Milo smirked.  “What exactly are trying to say there, Grace?”

She took her time swallowing another long sip of beer, put down the glass and looked at him.  “I’m saying you’re a moron, and that the gay community has a lot of disposable income to spend on frivolous stuff like doofy rodeos.”

“I had fun.”  Puck smiled.

“It’s the whole double income no kids syndrome,” Grace said, her eyes still on Milo.  “They don’t have to worry about paying for little Johnny’s education so they get to live the high life their whole life.”

“That’s cute, but you might be right.”  Milo leaned back.  “John Paul and Richard do have one nice house.”

“They’re both lawyers,” Puck said.

“Why don’t you guys have a nicer place?”  Grace turned from Milo to Puck.  “You live like you’re still in college.”

“So you’ve said.”  Milo looked at Grace.  “But what do you expect, we’re not gay and Puck does public assistance work.”

“It’s a non-profit organization that focuses on education, Milo.”  Puck kept his eyes on Grace.  “And Grace has a point.”

“Yeah, big surprise that you’d side with her.”  Milo laughed.

“Shut up.”  Puck turned on him.

“Great comeback.”  Milo finished his beer. 

“Your apartment could look a lot better.”  Grace nodded.

“She’s right,” Puck said.

“Great, okay.”  Milo put down his glass.  “So, who was this woman that you talked to?”

“Helen.”  Puck nodded.

“Yeah, Helen.”  Milo nodded back.  “And was she gay too?  It doesn’t sound like a lot of heterosexuals would attend or even be welcome at something called the gay rodeo.  Or was she like you, another straight trying to get into the cool lifestyle?”

“Hey, I just wanted to hang out with my brother.”  Puck threw up his hand.

“Great, but was Helen gay?”  Milo looked at him.

“I don’t think so.”  Puck shook his head.  “She didn’t look it.”

“That means she wasn’t ugly?”  Milo turned to Grace.  “Because you know when I was younger…”

“Like last week?”  Grace took in a breath.

“No, like last year.”  Milo stuck his tongue out.  “I used to think that all lesbians were hot…”

“A la your lesbian porn collection?”  Grace nodded.

“Yeah, Grace, a la my lesbian porn collection.”  Milo nodded and smiled.  “You done now?”

“We’ll see.”  She picked up her beer glass.

“Okay.  Thanks,” Milo said.  “Pipe in when you have something else to say.”

“I will.”  Grace smiled.

“Anyway,” Milo rolled his eyes, turning back to Puck.  “I was under the impression that all lesbians are hot, and then I left home and found out they’re not.”

“Yeah, me too.”  Puck finished his beer.  “All of those teenage fantasies down the tubes.”

“It was disappointing.”  Milo nodded.

“Poor babies.” Grace shook her head.

“But Helen is hot.”  Puck looked at both of them.  “She’s a real babe.” 

“Then she’s not gay,” Milo said and waved to the bartender.  “Or at least probably not.”

Grace looked at Puck.  “So, are you going to ask her out?”

“I don’t know.  I didn’t think of it then and John Paul and Richard gave me kind of a hard time on the way home.  We exchanged business cards, though.”

Milo’s mouth fell open.  “You’re at a gay rodeo where everybody and their mother are scouting for a same sex encounter, you meet a beautiful and likely straight woman who talks to you out of the blue, and you don’t think to ask her out?”

“John Paul and Richard wanted to leave before I got the chance.”  Puck shrugged.

“You can’t find a likable woman in girl-rich Washington, and then you meet one at the gay rodeo and you forget to ask her out, Puck.”  Grace looked right at him.  “I thought you could do better than that.”

“Hey.  Give him a break,” Milo said.  “When is the last time you went out with anybody?”

“I just got off of a four-month relationship.”  She said with a different look.

“Yeah, two months ago.”  Milo looked back.

“Yes, two months ago, and the guy was a huge jerk.”  Grace made a face.

“You’d think you’d want to go out with someone nice after that,” Puck said.

“I would, but I need a little more time.”  She looked past them both.  “Michael was…”

“… a lying, cheating, sleazebag who I told you to break up after you’d been with him for two days,” Milo said.  “He treated you like crap and then took one on you, figuratively at least.”

“Thanks for reminding me.”  Grace turned to him.

“So much for nice guys working for liberal causes,” Puck said.

“Yeah, Grace.  He could care for the environment and the poor in Africa, but he couldn’t show you the time of day,” Milo said.  “And you said he was selfish in the sack.”

“I remember.” 

“You need to get back on the horse.”  Milo turned to Puck.

“You need to find a cool guy.”  Puck looked at Grace.

“Easier said than done.”  Grace looked back at of both them.  “Washington isn’t teeming with crowds of straight, good-looking men who aren’t already married or willing to exploit interns.  And there’s no way I’m going for some fifty-year-old who is so secure with himself and his penis that he’s hitting on women who could be his daughters.”

“You might want to broaden your social circle then.”  Milo took his new beer from the bartender.  “Hanging with your grandmother isn’t exactly a turn on, at least not one I’d think most men are into.”

“You’re going to give me advice about dating?”  Grace stared at him.

“Wasn’t Michael like in his forties?” Puck said

“He was in his early thirties.”

“Oh right,” Milo said.  “The thirtysomethings are some much cooler.

“You’re the last person who should be giving dating advice, Milo.”  Grace picked up a new beer, but just held onto it.  “You’ve got such a collection of dating neuroses that you should be somebody’s psychology thesis.”

“How is Mary, anyway.”  Puck took a sip of his new beer.  “And when is she due?”

“Everything is fine.”  Milo put down his.  “Mary got a sonogram this Friday, and the baby is healthy and looking good at seven months.”

“Did you go with her?” Grace said.

“Of course.”  Milo smiled.

“You don’t think it’s strange you’ve only dated pregnant women since college?”  Grace took a sip.

“Why?”

“They’re already knocked up when you meet them.”  Grace put the beer down, looking right at Milo. 

“So?”

“So, 99% of men avoid dating pregnant women and you’re the single guy who wants to,” Grace said.  “You’d think it would crimp your style if you had one.”

“Mary and I do everything that every other couple does,” Milo said, a large smile spreading over his face.  “That’s one of the better parts of our relationship, actually.  She’s a freaking dynamo in the sack.”

“Thank you for that image.”

“Just like Ruth and Sara, huh?”  Puck said, leaning forward.

“What can I tell you?”  Milo smiled.  “The thousands of mothers to be can’t seem to get enough action.”

“You’re a real charmer, Milo.”  Grace stared at him.  “I can see how you can’t have a normal relationship.”  She picked up her beer.  “Does Mary know about the other pregnant women you’ve dated?”

“Hey, I helped them through their pregnancies.”  Milo said, turning to the floor.

“You haven’t told Mary about the others, have you?”  Puck said.

Milo looked at Puck and then looked away.

“Oh man.”  Puck shook his head.  “I thought you said you were going to last night.”

“No, not yet.”  Milo peeked up at them.

“So when?”  Grace looked right at him.

“I’m building up to it.”  Milo picked up his beer again.  “And you know I’m not actually doing anything wrong.”

“You’re being a jerk.”  Grace put down hers.

“Hey, I’m just…”

“You think you guys can resolve this before I get back from the restroom?” Puck said, standing up all of the sudden and putting down his beer.

They both looked at him.

“Sorry,” Grace said.

“Me too,” Milo said. 

“Good.”  Puck headed for the restroom.

Grace watched him and then turned to Milo.  “Real nice.”

“You’re the one who started the conversation.”  Milo still watched Puck.

“Is Mary still in touch with the father?”  Grace nodded to him.

“What business is it of yours?”  Milo said with a look.

“You don’t know, do you?”  Grace laughed.  “You’re been dating her for the last three months and you haven’t even figured that out.”

“She’s says it was divine intervention.”  Milo took a big swig from his beer.

“What?”  Grace picked up her beer again.

“Mary claims it was an immaculate conception?”  Milo swallowed.

“Yeah, I’m guessing that God has a lot to do with the failure of birth control.”  Grace laughed again.

“Real nice, Grace.”  Milo took another swig and looked her in the eye.  “But thanks for caring.”

Grace looked back at Milo and shook her head, drinking some beer.  “Just trying to keep you on the straight and narrow, Milo.

 “Speaking of which, why don’t you ask out Puck?”  Milo grinned.

“Excuse me?” Grace eyed him.

“You heard me.  He’d be good for you.  He has a thing for Latinas, he’s always saying nice things about you, and in case you haven’t noticed, he can’t take his eyes off of you.”

“I think you’re confusing me for my breasts.”  She adjusted her bra.  “A lot of men have that problem, you included.”

“I’m serious.”  Milo looked at her breasts. 

“It’s a nice idea, Milo, but no.”  Grace crossed an arm over her chest.  “Puck’s too much of a goof.  I mean, come on, he goes by Puck.”

“It beats Calvin,” Milo said.

Grace sighed.  “Look, he’s a good friend, and I love the guy, but that’s it.”

“He’s in good shape; he listens to you and treats you with respect, unlike that idiot, Michael.”  Milo grinned again.  “Plus, he’s got a big tongue.”

“I agree he’s a nice guy.”  Grace hid behind a longer sip of beer.  “But I don’t think things would work out between us.

“Why not?”  Milo looked right at her.

“I don’t know, Milo.”  Grace looked right back.  “We’ve been friends for too long, and all of the good stuff that you mentioned and I like about him as a friend would fade away once we slept together.”

“That’s a bunch of crap, Grace, and you know it.”  Milo drank more.

She drank too.

“You know he’s a great guy and that he’d treat you well.”  Milo looked her in the eye.  “What is your probl…?”

“He’s cool, but I don’t think it’d work.”  Grace checked her watch.

“What, because he’s got a boyish charm?”

“Yes, Milo.”  Grace looked up again.  “I don’t think we’re on the same page maturity-wise.”

“You could say that about almost any guy.”  Milo laughed.

“Milo, I just got off an at least a semi-serious relationship, okay?  If anything, I’m looking for a rebound thing.  I’ll probably just get a few rolls in the hay with whomever I see next and dump the person on the curb like a wet sack of trash.”  Grace took in a deep breath.  “I couldn’t do that to Puck.”

“Meaning you like him.”  Milo took another sip.

“I like him enough not to risk that.”  Grace joined him.

“You don’t think you might be able to avoid that with him.”  Milo nodded to her.

“I don’t know,” Grace said and saw Puck coming out of the restroom.  “But I don’t want to have this conversation anymore.”

Milo sighed as Puck sat down and took a sip of beer.  “Did I miss anything?”

“We’ll see,” Milo said with a look at Grace.

“Huh?”  Puck raised an eyebrow.

“You going to call Helen?”  Milo clinked his beer against Puck’s.

“I don’t know.”  He turned to Grace.

“Buddy.”  Milo got back his attention.  “That card isn’t doing any good in your wallet.”

“Yeah.”  Grace swallowed.  “You should call her.

Puck looked at Grace again and then Helen’s card.  “You guys ever hear of the ‘Conservative Caucus’?”

“Yeah.”  Grace took the card.  “But I’m not sure if they’re trying to get the government into or out of the bedroom.  Why?”

“That’s where Helen works.”

Grace handed back the card with a shrug.

“Whatever.”  Milo looked at the card too.  “Maybe she just needed to get her foot in the door of the Washington game.  Everybody’s got to start somewhere.

“Whatever.”  Puck took back the card.  “I’ll give her a call when I get home.”

“Fair enough.”  Milo dropped money on the bar.  “Let’s get out of here.”

“Okay,” Grace said and followed Puck and Milo out the door.

***

Of course the drama, horror and humor continue.

Read how Puck and Helen discover the truth, Milo and Grace learn what's important in relationships and John Paul and Richard chip away at Jerry's hypocrisy.

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