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

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6-10 Recap (Volume 3)

Charlie mentors gay youth, angst is worked out through video games, and Alex finds his Spirit in Week 2 of Volume 3. Volume 4 launches November 19th!

6-10 Recap (Volume 3)
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Charlie mentors gay youth, angst is worked out through video games, and Alex finds his Spirit in Week 2 of Volume 3. Volume 4 launches November 19th!


Even though his first day back at school was exhausting, Charlie was in no rush to get home. The tension at home was getting to the unbearable weight of an Edward Albee play. He had a lot to catch up on, having been out those weeks in the coma. As he graded papers, he typed in "Ben" on the Facebook search bar, to see which Ben's in Chicago he had mutual friends with. The hundred that popped up on first search dissuaded Charlie from pursuing that any further. He turned on Grindr to see if he would randomly just pop up, but that wasn't successful either. Without a last name or phone number, Dr. Fargo might be lost forever. There was a knock at his classroom door.

"Mr. Parker?" Alex said as he peeked his head in the door.

"Hi Alex," Charlie said, closing his MacBook. "What can I do for you?"

"Well, with Mrs. Singh going on maternity leave in a month, we don't have an advisor for the Gay-Straight Alliance. I was wondering if you'd be interested or available."

"I don't know, Alex. I've never been the extracurricular type. And besides, being gay wasn't really an issue for me in school. I don't know how much perspective I could bring."

"That's why you'd be perfected though!" Alex insisted. "It shouldn't be an issue. Having an alliance, interacting, it's just how it should be. And you could help us get it that way."

"Why don't you ask Mr. Robinson? Or Ms. Meacham?"

"I have already and they're booked with musical theatre club and poetry club."
"Wow, third choice. I'm honored."

"Fifth, actually. Please, Mr. Parker? If we don't find a faculty advisor by the end of the week, we won't be able to keep the club."

"Alright, alright. Let me look at what my schedule's going to be like this semester. Let me think about it."

"So that's a yes?"

"That's a ‘let me think about it;."

Alex sighed, not knowing whether if it was a victory or defeat, and slumped back out to the hallway. Charlie smiled to himself. Although he wanted to give back and help make the school a better place for his queer students, the thought of him as a role model freaked him out. The cicada sound of a Grindr alert made his phone glow and he looked at it, hopeful that by the grace of God, it'd be Ben.

The message was from a young man, two hundred feet away. The message read: "PLEASE Mr. Parker?"



Hunter and Tyler managed to defeat all the evil ex-boyfriends in the "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" video game in less than two hours.

"I wish real life were like that," said Hunter. "I wish you could just get over people by kicking their asses."

"Yeah, but that was Ramona's problem, wasn't it?" Tyler said. "Instead of dealing with her evil exes, she ran away from them."

"And so poor old Scott Pilgrim had to deal with all her baggage."

"Is it really that hard? Getting over exes?"

Hunter took a sip of his beer. "Ask Charlie."

Tyler cracked open another beer. "What did you mean the other day? That is was more about you than me."

Hunter didn't say anything, but instead set the game on "Boss Rush," the mode that would let you skip all the levels and just do the ex-boyfriend boss battles.

"I think about Andy still," Tyler admitted after they defeated ex-boyfriend three, Todd the Vegan.

"It's natural. He was your first. It's gonna take a long time."

"I want to hate him I do. But mostly, I just wish we were still together."

"If Charlie hadn't stopped me, I WOULD have kicked his ass."

"You didn't kick Scott's ass though."

Hunter was quiet for a minute. "That was a different situation altogether."

They tag teamed ex-boyfriends five and six, the Katayangi Twins when Charlie came home. They all looked at each other for a moment.

"What are you guys playing?" Charlie asked.

"The video game for ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World'." Tyler said.

"Can I join?"

Hunter pulled out the third controller and pressed "start." Hunter was already playing as Stills and Tyler was playing as Knives. Charlie chose Scott.

"Who we fighting?" Charlie asked.

"The next boss is Nega Scott," Tyler explained. "He represents all of Scott's bad traits, everything Scott wants to fight against in himself." After taking a few minutes to learn the controls, Charlie landed the fatal KO blow.

"All right, who's next?"

"Gideon," said Tyler. "The ultimate, big bad ex that prevents Scott and Ramona from moving forward as a couple."

"Think you can handle it?" asked Hunter.

Charlie cracked open a beer. "Bring it on."



Steve brought out coffee and brandy as Edward brought the David's, Becka, and Brad into the living room with dessert.

"I just never understood what the big hullabaloo was always about," Edward was saying, as he the chocolate cake. "I have three sisters, each wedding bigger than the last."

"You can't just ask what the big deal is," Becka said. "Every woman dreams of their wedding day since they're little girls."

"Oh I'm happy for you darling, don't get me wrong. I just wonder, is it as big of a deal for little straight boys as it is for little straight girls?" All eyes turned to Brad.

"Well," said Brad, swigging his coffee and brandy. "I guess it's just something I always knew I'd have to do. Eventually."

"And who said romance was dead?" Edward teased.

"I get what you mean, though," Other David offered. "Maybe it's because I grew up knowing it was never going to be an option for me, I just didn't give it any thought."

"I love you, babe," said David. "I don't need a piece of paper to tell me that."

"Or you just need to believe that to justify being a Log Cabin Republican," muttered Brad.

"He's right babe. Think about it if it were legalized. No gay kid would have to grow up feeling it was never an option. Because it would be. Think of how that could impact the gay community in the future."

"Politics aside, you cannot deny that the conservative right is the moral majority. And isn't it a bit hypocritical to ask them to change their beliefs for us? For something most of us don't even really want, no matter how much the liberal media will say that we do."

"I want it," said Steve, biting into a piece of cake. "And I have ever since I was a little boy."

"You have?" Edward asked, putting his arm around him.

"I always knew that I was gay. And so whenever we played house in kindergarten I always played wife."

"Gender roles," teased Other David.

"Yeah, but I never felt like ‘a wife,' y'know? I always knew that when I grew up, it'd be me and another man. And we'd have a simple ceremony, surrounded by people we loved and who loved us for who we were."

"I don't remember you and Bruce ever having talked about a ceremony," said David.

"We never did," said Steve. "I'm still waiting."

Edward kissed Steve on the forehead and fed him some of his cake.



Andy hated the smugness of gallery openings, but he really could use the money. He knew he should be focusing on getting into grad school, on his next grown up step, but he couldn't turn down the offer of a showing. Even if it was some random gallery in Lakeview that no one had ever really heard of. He'd invited a handful of his friends just because he didn't want to stand there waiting for approval by himself. The air was full of pretention and Japanese electronica as people mused for life's deeper meaning in his slapped together paintings. There was only one that mattered and as he chugged his fifth plastic flute of cheap champagne, still no one approached it.

"It seems full of remorse," said a voice behind him as he stared contemplatively at the one good piece he created all summer.

"Yeah, it... well, how does it say that to you?" Andy asked, turning to the cute guy in Buddy Holly glasses.

"The desperate way the red bleeds away from the blue. How much the blue dominates the actual canvas. The purple that never quite blends into itself properly."

"I thought you might've just peeked at the piece's tag."

"Regret," Buddy Holly read aloud. "It's perfect. It encapsulates it in one word but the strokes and the canvas does the rest of the work."

"You seem to talk from experience. About regret."

"Who hasn't it felt it? I think I spent most of my life pushing it down, trying to tell myself that there was no such thing, that mistakes were opportunities to learn and grow. I know better now. If you don't accept that, if you don't acknowledge it to move past it, then you really never grow. Really."

"I... yeah, that's... " Andy was speechless. He couldn't believe he was actually having a heartfelt, thoughtful conversation at an opening.

"I'd really like to meet the artist. Is he here?"

"You're looking at him" Andy said, extending his hand. "I'm Andy."

"Nice to meet you," said Buddy Holly, shaking his hand. "I'm Scott."



Alex paced nervously as the rest of the Gay-Straight Alliance stared at him.

"He's not gonna show," said Brandon.

"Yes, he will," said Alex, staring at the clock. "I got him on board as faculty advisor, didn't I?"

"He wasn't even wearing purple!" Trevor said incredulously. "Doesn't he know it's Spirit Day?"

"Cut him some slack," Alex said. "He's old."

"He's almost a half hour late," said Tina.

"We'll wait a few more minutes. Then we'll start without him."


Charlie only smoked when he was drinking, but the thought of having to be a role model to these LGBT kids made him nervous. He bummed one from the janitor and had walked a safe distance off campus to smoke it in secret. He tried to sneak in through the back alley, when he heard somebody get slammed into a dumpster.

"Fucking faggot," he heard someone say. Rounding the corner, he saw a couple of the surlier juniors getting ready to give a poor, scrawny freshman the business.

"Hey!" Charlie called out. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"We were just goofing around," said Steven Albright, a kid who'd almost flunked Charlie's class.

"Right. Then why is his lip cut up and his left eye swollen?"

"Guess he couldn't keep up," said the other kid, Jason Page.

"And was breaking the school's zero tolerance policy on hate speech part of the goofing around?" The two older boys turned to the younger one, who was trembling with fear and adrenaline.

"Um... yeah... " stammered the younger one. "We were just goofing."

"Right. Well, I know for a fact that the principal loves to goof around. Why don't we all take a visit to his office?"


Charlie waited in the reception area with the freshman after giving his statement.

"What's your name kid?"


"I'm Mr. Parker. Whose English class are you in?"

"Ms. Meacham's."

"Ah, so you're one of the smart ones then." That got Robbie to smile a little. "Listen Robbie, I'm not gonna pretend to know what you're going through. I actually had it pretty easy in high school. But you can't let those guys just jerk you around for who you are."

"But what am I supposed to do?"

"Stand up for yourself."

"Like fight? Cuz I can't... "

"Not like with fists and... you just have to not take anyone's shit. You gotta be strong." Robbie's eyes widened at a teacher swearing. "How about your friends? Maybe if you stuck together... "

"I don't have any friends, Mr. Parker. My family just moved to Chicago. I don't really know anyone."

Charlie smiled. "Well, we're almost an hour late, but I think I have a group of people that'll be glad to have you as a friend. Wanna join me?"

Robbie nodded, his furrowed brow brightening up a bit. Charlie helped Robbie up and walked him down to meet Alex and the rest of the GSA.


Volume 4 will launch November 19th!

Just joining us? Catch up now!

Volume 1 -
Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four, Week Five

Volume 2 -
Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four, Week Five


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