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

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9. All The Other Boys

White wine and long hot showers were Charlie's guilty pleasures and at the moment he was indulging in the latter. Candles lit, the newest Christopher Dallman tracks blaring, Charlie could really lose himself in it. He could've sworn he heard the bathroom door creak as the new club remixes of "Nightt

9. All The Other Boys
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White wine and long hot showers were Charlie's guilty pleasures and at the moment he was indulging in the latter. Candles lit, the newest Christopher Dallman tracks blaring, Charlie could really lose himself in it. He could've sworn he heard the bathroom door creak as the new club remixes of "Nighttime in the City" gave way to the beautiful, flowing original, which was crazy because he swore he was completely alone in the apartment. He was hearing things, he decided, as he turned towards the showerhead to rinse off the shampoo out of his hair and ears. And as he turned to reach for the peppermint body wash, he was face to face with a naked Hunter.

"Hey," Hunter smiled.

"Hey," said Charlie, both confused and turned on. "Um... did you need the shower?"

"No," Hunter chuckled, revealing more of the crooked smile that immediately brought Charlie back to That Night at Cocktail.

"Well, I'll just be a minute... " Before Charlie could finish, Hunter wrapped one arm around the small of Charlie's back and drew him close.

"Take your time," Hunter said, inching closer for the kiss. Just as their lips were about to meet, the shower curtain opened and there stood Tyler, in the cornfed buff.

"Hi," said Tyler, grinning from ear to ear.

"Um... hi?"

"Room for one more?"

"Come on in dude," Hunter said, sidestepping to allow Tyler clearance into the shower. The steam rose as the hot water pounded down on the three of them. Charlie wasn't sure what was going on nor was he sure that he cared. Hunter slowly caressed his face as Charlie caressed Tyler's. They all looked at each other, longingly. Lustfully. Was this really going to happen? As the three of them leaned closer, lips aching to meet, "Nightime in the City" gave way to the loud, angsty chorus of "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

Which was Charlie's ringtone.

And Charlie shot up awake on the couch, his phone ringing loudly next to a half empty bottle of chardonnay, his Macbook opened to unfinished curriculum planning, and with an unsettling hard-on. God, who was he, Pamela Barnes Ewing? And could knowing that reference make him feel any older or gayer?

"Hello?" he answered hurriedly, getting up and walking away from the couch (and hopefully the dream.) He checked the caller ID quickly: it was Other David.

"Hey, just wanted to remind you of David's surprise party this weekend."

"For sure, Other David. It's in my calendar."

"Cool. Becka and Brad have keys, so they'll be at the condo to let people in while we're at dinner."


"You ok, Charlie? You sound... disturbed."

"Yeah. Yeah, just... nodded off working on fall prep."

"Geez old man, it's not even nine o'clock yet."

"Hey! I'M not the one turning thirty!"


"Good night, Other David."

What did the dream mean? Probably that he needed to get laid. The last guy that Charlie hooked up with was... well Hunter. Before he knew that Hunter was Hunter. And he couldn't even remember the specifics of it. He was due for a good ol' fashioned roll in the hay. He ruled out doing the online or Grindr thing; it just wasn't his bag. Sure it was convenient if he was absolutely desperate, but in the end it gave him a headache.

When he first downloaded Grindr, he messaged a cute guy with "Hey" to which the guy replied "How original! Come up with something other than ‘hey'!" To the next guy, he messaged: "Evening handsome. You seem like a really nice guy. How are you?" to which that guy replied, "Too much, guy. Not lookin' for all that." And then there was the string of acronyms and coded words like DDF and PnP and generous$; when he finally thought he'd learned them all, a whole new lexicon sprouted up. He found guys online to be much more confusing than guys in real life. And besides, whether he was going to meet Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now, there was something to that electric spark when people first meet that can't be replicated in an app. And it'd been forever since Charlie felt that.

He sent out a blanket "You out and about?" text to the group labeled in his phone as Bar Buddies. Cody and Mark were at Roscoe's, so Charlie took a really quick whore bath and joined them. It was pretty bustling for a Thursday. He did the rounds, saying hi to Jonathon and Keith and the other staff before finding Cody and Mark in the patio with a pitcher of Magic Hat #9.

"Why are you guys drinking mixed drinks?" Charlie asked, pouring himself a pint.

"That's for you, young Charles," said Cody.

"We know how you drink," added Mark. And with that, they dropped straws in the pitcher.

Charlie didn't know whether to be ecstatic or insulted, but he was never one to turn down a free pitcher. Cody decided that they needed shots, so Mark went him to the bar as Charlie held their spot. The straws floating in the pitcher of beer made him chuckle and he thought, what the hell, and started to drink from one.

"Does the straw make it taste better?" asked the cute, shaggy blonde guy that Charlie apparently didn't notice was noticing him.

"Nah, it's just... my friends' idea of a joke. And I thought, why the fuck not, right?"

"You're right. Why the fuck not?" cute guy grabbed the extra straw and put it in his pint. Charlie offered his hand.


"Josh," said cute guy, shaking it. They smiled at each other, sipped their drinks, and then smiled at each other again. There it was: spark.

"You look like you just flew in from the Hamptons," teased Charlie, in regards to Josh's light pink polo, fitted khaki shorts, and boat shoes.

"You don't like the way I dress?"

"Nah, it's cute. Just, usually I'm the preppiest-of-us-all."

"Well, even when you're slumming it you look good."

"Hey! Who said I was slumming?"

"Well, we're in the patio of Roscoe's aren't we?"

"Oh no! Dede and Binky might see you and tell all the other girls at the Ladies Who Lunch Debutante Ball. Quick! Let's hide you!" Josh laughed hysterically. Sometimes, all you gotta do is commit to a bit, thought Charlie.

"So you're cute AND hilarious." Josh paused. Charlie blushed. They sipped drinks. They looked at each other again. They smiled.

"Listen," Josh started.

"Joshua!" called a cute, effeminate guy, dressed near identical to Josh except in purple polo.

"Over here Mason," Josh called over, sighing and rolling his eyes slightly so that only Charlie saw. Mason ran over, nearly tackling Josh, and kissing him on the mouth.

"Who's this?" Mason glared at Charlie.

"Mason, this is Charlie. Charlie, this is... "

"Boyfriend. Mason. Hi. Let's go. I'm over it."

"Sure, just a second," said Josh as Mason heaved an exasperated sigh and stomped to the exit. "It was... "

"Come ON, Joshua!" whined Mason, just as Cody and Mark returned with the shots.

"It was really nice talking to you," said Josh before quickly running after Mason. Cody and Mark looked at Charlie who simply grabbed a shot and downed it. His game was so off, he'd just assumed that Josh was interested. Figures.

"Belly up to the bar, boys. Next round's on me."

After recounting the story to Jonathon at the back bar, he spotted them a couple of shots before they ordered a round to take to the dance floor. Fuck it, Charlie was just going to dance his troubles away. Mark and Cody found their ways onto the stage and hoisted Charlie up. Losing himself completely in the flashing dim lights and this year's gay national anthem "Call Me Maybe," Charlie looked out into the crowd to see if maybe this night wasn't still salvageable. In the sea of blue and dark, he could've sworn he saw a light pink polo. As the music got faster and Charlie got sweatier, it appeared that the dot of pink polo was getting closer, almost fighting its way through the crowd.

"I'm just drunk," Charlie thought, closing his eyes, singing out loud "all the other boys try to chase me... " then someone pulled him off the stage. The pink dot and him were face to face.

"Hey again," said Josh.

"Hey again," said Charlie. He realized that they weren't shouting over the music. They could just hear each other.

"I just... here's my card. Maybe we can hang?"

"What about... ?"

"Look, I just... I don't know. I knew when I left, I felt awful that I'd never see you again. Which is stupid I know. So here's my card. Do with it what you want. I hope... I hope to hear from you." And he fought his way back through the crowd. And as the chorus "Call Me Maybe" continued on repeat, Charlie hated that his life had been reduced to becoming the mirror image of this year's gay national anthem. Fucking typical. He looked up at Cody and Mark. They were too busy dancing; they hadn't noticed. But it happened; Josh came back. He felt it too: the spark.


Call me Maybe?? Oh I hated that song, like it was cool to popularize being flaky and not commit to something as simple as a phone call. If you asked someone for their number and wrote it down, just call. Maybe something can be set up, maybe not, but just call, lol.

by WalksTheEdge on Fri. Oct 25, 2013

You've captured Cody and I perfectly, Danny. ;-)

by MarkTuna on Tue. Jul 31, 2012

Nighttime in the City by Christopher Dallman

by that1guydannyb on Thu. Jul 26, 2012

I <3 me some Christopher Dallman. To check out "Nighttime in the City" and the rest of the songs on his first CD "Race the Light" go here:

by that1guydannyb on Thu. Jul 26, 2012

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