The daily serial fictional based on Chicago's Boystown neighborhood: Boystown series by Danny Bernardo

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7. Daily Grind

Charlie didn't necessarily need the cash; he was just doing a favor for a friend. He hated summer school more than low-carb wine, so Molly owed him huge for subbing. Her lesson plan was easy enough; it was the same section of American Lit that he taught in the spring. He let the students off the hoo

7. Daily Grind
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Charlie didn't necessarily need the cash; he was just doing a favor for a friend. He hated summer school more than low-carb wine, so Molly owed him huge for subbing. Her lesson plan was easy enough; it was the same section of American Lit that he taught in the spring. He let the students off the hook by letting them catch up on reading Catcher in the Rye and finishing the essay due to Ms. Meacham by tomorrow. In the meantime, he did what any ol' sub does: he caught up with his friends via text:

TRISTAN: OMFG, you SLUT! The Bitches saw you doing The Walk! I could DIE!
CHARLIE: Whatever. Where were you? I texted you!

BECKA: So did HWSNBN try to talk to you?
CHARLIE: Kinda? He called out as I bailed.
BECKA: What a weirdo! Get over him already!

TRISTAN: OMFG, I don't know if I can tell Charlie.
CHARLIE: Tell Charlie what?
TRISTAN: Oh, sorry, wrong text.

DAVID: Wait, so you hooked up with your new roomie?
CHARLIE: Yeah. But like, before he was. It's complicated.
DAVID: And he's a Go-Go Boy?!
CHARLIE: Don't get me started.
DAVID: Have you guys talked about it yet?

OTHER DAVID: So you can make it?
CHARLIE: Hellz yah! He's gonna be so surprised!
OTHER DAVID: Do you think I can really fit 30 candles on the cake?
CHARLIE: He's going to kill you!

Grindr sound.

BTOWNVERS: Looking for?
CHARLIE: Dates, friends, fun. HBU?
BTOWNVERS: Whatever.
CHARLIE: Maybe we can meet up sometime.

"Mr. Parker?" Charlie recognized Alex as he approached the desk. He had him for English I when he was a freshman. It surprised him that Alex was in summer school going into senior year; he was very bright.

"Yes, Alex. How can I help you?"

"I've already read this book. Three times. I've done my essay. Can I sit at the computer lab and work on my blog?"

"Sorry, Alex. The computer lab is closed during class time. Maybe you can, um, move ahead?"

"There is no 'ahead.' This curriculum was built for idiots. I've read everything on the list and have all my papers finished."

"Well maybe, you can just sit quietly and wait for everyone else to catch up?"

"That's going to be the story of my life, isn't it?" Charlie couldn't help but smile at that. He wished he was as sure of himself when he was that age. Alex started to go back to his desk but then turned back and leaned in close.

"You know, Mr. Parker," he whispered. "You really shouldn't be on Grindr while you're teaching class."

"I... what? Not even!"

"I heard the sound. We ALL heard the sound."


Tyler couldn't be any more excited to be interviewing with the HRC. He shook the manager's hand and before the manager could sit down, the floodgates of gushing just opened:

"First, let me say how important the HRC is to me. Everything you guys stand for, all the human rights. And campaigning. Yes, definitely campaigning. Because what would human rights be without campaigning, right? I mean it's such a service to all of us, humans, all humans. Gay or straight or black or white or Hispanic and everything. I'm gay. Not that that should get me any special treatment or whatever, I just... it means a lot to me. For obvious reasons. I mean, I hope to get married someday, gay married, like real married, not like that other thing they're trying to pretend is marriage? But yeah, it's all thanks to the HRC, really... I mean, where would we be without you? Like the movement, the gay movement. I mean, not that I've been in it for so long or whatever, I'm, you know, only twenty-one and I just came out... but still VERY VERY in the loop and stuff, and I mean, I could've gotten a job at Starbucks or whatever, but who wants to sling coffee every day of their life. I want something meaningful. So yeah, I can't wait for this opportunity to work for the HRC. If you'll have me."

The manager looked up from his clipboard. "So. Tyler. Right?" Tyler eagerly nodded. "You can start right away?"

"I can start today if you'll have me, sir."

"Good. Consider yourself hired." Tyler had to resist the urge to hug him. He found a job, with the HRC! His life had meaning! He was on his way to finding a place in this city!

An hour later, Tyler was on Clark and Diversey, with a clipboard, asking people if they had a minute to support gay marriage.


Just drown in the beats, Hunter thought. Close your eyes and think about the cash.

Men were grabbing at him. Whatever. Let them think what they want. Let them think they can have you; do the dance, get their cash and be done. It's nothing but the beats inside. Grinding to the beats inside. Everything is the beats inside.

Some old skeezer comes up, puts some money in his jock, tries to get a little frisky. Hunter graciously licks the guy's face as he takes his hand away. It's a means to an end, Hunter tells himself. Fuck financial aid; fuck the system. You'll get there. This is your fresh start, no matter how much longer you're stuck at your dead end. It's a means to an end.

Seriously, Skeezer is on fire! He won't take no for answer. Dance away from him, Hunter. Skeezer grabs Hunter's jockstrap and tries to pull him back. Hunter kicks him; he falls back. Skeezer throws a drink in his face. "You're a low-life piece of shit! You'll never amount to anything!" Big ol' Darius comes up from the front, pulls Skeezer away and pushes him out the door.

Close your eyes. Think about the cash. And the beats inside. Nothing but the beats inside. You're not a low-life piece of shit. You will amount to something.

Another guy grabs at Hunter, bills flashing in his hand. Means to an end, Hunter. Keep on grinding, for now. Nothing but the beats inside.


Charlie was making coffee when Tyler stepped out of the shower. Tyler had that Midwestern cornfed thing going for him and Charlie had to actively not look. Tyler hadn't said much about his new job, but Charlie was glad that he was getting somewhere. As Tyler went into his room, Hunter came in the front door, covered in glitter and sweat, wearing hardly anything. They hadn't talked about That Night. Should they? Charlie offered him a cup of coffee, but Hunter waved it away, grabbing a towel from the hall linen closet.

"Rough day at the office?" was all Charlie could think of to say. Hunter managed a wane smile and headed for the shower.


"Rough day at the office"...cute. It got me to smile.

by WalksTheEdge on Fri. Oct 25, 2013

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