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

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6-10 Recap (Volume 4)

Hunter learns the true meaning of family and Charlie gets a shocking surprise visit in the second week of volume 4. Volume 5 launches 12/31! Happy Holidays!

6-10 Recap (Volume 4)
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Hunter learns the true meaning of family and Charlie gets a shocking surprise visit in the second week of volume 4. Volume 5 launches 12/31! Happy Holidays!


Hunter woke up with a start when the door to his dad's hospital room creaked open. He thought it might be his mother, but it was Daryl.

"You're really getting some great use out of that motel room we got," Daryl said sarcastically. "You haven't left his bedside since we got here."

"I guess I'm used to it," Hunter said sleepily.

"Has mom been in at all?"

"Couple of times. Once after Thanksgiving dinner. Then on Saturday. Said fighting the crowds at Wal-Mart kept her from coming on Friday."

"Has he woken up at all?"

"No. The nurses said it was touch and go. Mom's gonna have to make the call to pull the plug soon."

"Tell her to mind her own fucking business," came a crackly voice from the bed. "I'm going on my own terms."

Hunter and Daryl were in too much shock to say anything. Hunter grabbed his dad's hand and his dad squeezed it back.

"You making something about your life, boy?" he asked Hunter.

"Yes sir," Hunter managed. "I'm bartending. Saving up to go to school."

"Good. That's good. Still queer?"

"Yes sir."

"That's alright too, I suppose. I'm just... I'm glad that I got to see the man you turned out to be. Before... " Daryl stepped up cautiously. Their father gave him the once over. "Well, I see someone dressed down for the occasion."

"Hi dad," Daryl said, avoiding eye contact.

"Daryl... I... I'm sorry."

And Daryl broke down weeping. Hunter reached out to him but he was inconsolable and ran out of the room.

"Will you stay with me?" he asked Hunter. "Just... stay with me until I fall back asleep."

"Of course, Dad," Hunter said, gripping his hand. His father shut his eyes and took a peaceful breath. The long beep of the flatlining heart monitor shortly followed. Hunter never let go of his hand, thankful for the chance to say goodbye.



"We really should do something for charity," Alex said as he walked Charlie out of the GSA meeting.

"You mean for the holiday?"

"Sure or like maybe year round. It could count as our service learning hours."

"That's actually not such a bad idea. Did you have any specific in mind?"

"Well, I heard there was this gay youth homeless shelter... " Alex started as they exited the school. The thought was interrupted by a cute blonde guy who walked right up to Charlie.

"Hi," said the cute blonde.

"Hi," Charlie smiled. Alex rolled his eyes. "Alex this is my friend Josh. Josh this is Alex, the president of our GSA."

"Nice to meet you, Alex," Josh said extending his hand.

"Friend, huh?" Alex said eying the extended hand suspiciously. "If he doesn't pick up the bill," he whispered into Charlie's ear, "he does NOT get a second date."

"Well getting dating advice from a teenager sure isn't embarrassing," Charlie chuckled as Alex walked away.

"Hell, he probably knows better than us," Josh laughed. "I'm really glad we're doing this."

"Me too. Just kind of... you know... adjust how I think about you."

"Oh yeah?"

"For the longest time you were... the guy I couldn't have. You know? I mean, you're cute, we've got so much in common, and there's just this... "


"Yeah. But you had a boyfriend. And now... "

Josh kissed him abruptly and Charlie got so lost in it that he didn't care that students were staring at him on their way home.

"Sorry," Josh said. "I just... I've wanted to do that again for so long."

Charlie took a moment to catch his breath. "So... where do you wanna grab dinner."

"Wherever you want," Josh said. "I guess it's safe to say I'm picking up the bill."



From the hilltop, Hunter could make out the coffin being lowered into the grave. He remembered playing on this hilltop as a kid, even hiding high in the branches of the hill's tallest tree when his father was on a drunken rampage at home. Now, from a distance, it was the closest he'd get to paying last respects to dad.

"Fucking cunt," Daryl muttered behind him. "What right does she have to ban us from his funeral."

"Can't have Vic Storm's two faggot sons marring his reputation in the community," Hunter said bitterly.

"We were there for him when he died. Where the fuck was she? He made his fucking peace with us, we have a right."

"He did make his peace with us." Hunter said, as the processional of mourners marched off like ants to commiserate over Jell-O molds. "Now we've got to make peace with it. With everything. Mom, the family, this fucking town."

"Can we get out of here? I'm so done."

Daryl had been surprisingly mellow this whole visit. Always a connoisseurs of overwrought drama, Hunter was sure Daryl would make a scene. Daryl was the last of a dying breed, the over the top sardonic drag queen who worshipped Joan Crawford as portrayed by Faye Dunaway. As kids, while Hunter obsessed over Zelda and Mario, Daryl memorized every line of "Mommie Dearest." He'd act out the scenes over and over again, sometimes with Hunter as Christina. Until Dad's belt made the scene fade to black. When he'd grown up enough to rebel and run away from home, Daryl channeled all of Ms. Dunaway's fierceness when yelling in their father's face: "Why can't you give me. The RESPECT! That I am ENTITLED to!" From then on, Daryl's flame burned bright and Hunter had never seen it dull. Except for those times with the belt. And now, more than twenty years later, the pilgrimage to the town that would never accept him, to be perpetually rejected by a family that never accepted him. And somehow, Daryl handled it all with a quiet sort of dignity.

"Not yet. We've got one last stop before we blow this two-bit burg."


Evergreen hadn't changed at all since Daryl and Hunter snuck in without fake ID's in high school. Sadly, neither had its clientele. Rusty was still behind the bar, a little rounder, few more lines furrowing his brow.

"Get the fuck out!" Rusty bellowed. "It's the Storm brothers!"

"Hey Rusty," Hunter whispered as he leaned over the bar. "Do you guys still do the drag show on Sunday nights?"

"Yeah, too bad you missed it. The girls are getting so much better."

"Do the girls still store some of their wigs and costumes here?"

"Some do, yeah."

"Do you think they'd mind if someone used them for an hour or so?"


Hunter touched Daryl lovingly on the shoulder. "I think it's time our Podunk hometown met the fabulousness that is DeLisha DeVille."


Hunter drank his beer and watched the crowd. It didn't seem to matter where you were, a gay bar is a gay bar. The game is the same, the rules just slightly skewed. Still, there was a deep camaraderie in growing up gay in a small town, knowing full well that there was a bigger, badder, theoretically better world outside the town limits that couldn't be erased. In a city, people are constantly glancing at the door, seeing if something better walks in. Here... something better might be right in front of your face.

"Hunter Storm?" Hunter turned and saw a handsome, cornfed guy, who looked vaguely familiar. "It's me. It's Calvin Harris." He smiled from ear to ear and Hunter at once the childhood best friend who'd given him his first issue of "X-Men" hiding in the face of this grown man.

"Calvin! Oh my god, man, how've you been?"

"Been arite, you know. Working for my dad's company."

"Great. That's... wow, good for you."

"Look at you! Man, you look... amazing."

"Aw, whatever dude. You too. Jesus, it's been years! I haven't seen you since high school."

"Yeah. A lot has changed."

"Yeah." It was just then that Hunter realized that his childhood best friend, the boy he'd had a crush on all through puberty and high school... was here. With him. At the local gay bar.

"Couldn't get out of here fast enough, eh?" Calvin chuckled. "Can't say as I blame you. Just wish you would've taken me with you."

"Well... if I'd known... "

"Hell, at the time I didn't know! If I did, I definitely would've taken you out. That is... um... if you would've had me."

Hunter blushed. "Oh, I would have." They smiled at each other.

"How long are you in town for?"

"Leaving tonight. Back to Chicago."

"Oh," Calvin frowned.

"But if you ever come through, let me know. I'd love to... "

"Me too!"

A hush fell over the bar as DeLisha stood on the makeshift stage, the 90's pop fading out as the DJ switched discs for DeLisha's performance. Draped in sequins, DeLisha locked eyes with Hunter from beneath miles of fake lashes. The quiet chords of Etta James' "Cry Me A River" filled the bar and DeLisha gave the performance of her life. It was a fitting tribute to their father.



"You realize you can never give me shit about being a player ever again," Eddy said as she watched Charlie desperately toss outfits left and right.

"I didn't even sleep with Josh," Charlie said defensively. "We just made out a bunch."

"But you're going out with that Ben guy tonight. That's got player written all over it if you ask me."

"One: nobody asked you. Two: should I go with the blazer or cardigan?"

"What does it matter, it's gonna end up on someone's bedroom floor tonight anyway." Charlie glared at her. She sighed and held each garment up to Charlie, assessing. "Cardigan," she declared, tossing the blazer on the floor.

"Thank you. Was that so hard?"

"You're in a mood."

"I just... I want this to go right, you know?"

"You know, in all this new boy frenzy, you're forgetting about the one guy who's been there for you the whole time."

Charlie was dreading this. "Hunter's going through some stuff. The timing's just off."

"How's he doing? Have you heard from him?"

"Yeah, the funeral's today. He should be coming home soon."

"I can't even imagine. We really do take how awesome mom and dad are for granted don't we?"

"Wow, careful over there sis, you're actually growing a heart." Eddy threw a pillow in his face.

"So you've gone on and on about Dr. Fargo. But what happened with that Josh guy?"

"It was fine. The date was fine."

"Just fine, huh? And you still gave up the smoochies?"

"There was nothing wrong with it. He took me to a nice restaurant. We went to see a play."

"Sounds so... ordinary."

"What would you know about dating? With you it's from the bar right to your condo."

"Hey, I'm not the one who's seemingly underwhelmed. You tell me."

"Conversation was fine. Spark's still intact. We have so much in common, it just... it makes sense, I guess."

"But... ?"

"No buts. It was... everything was fine."


In all the years Charlie had lived in Chicago, he'd never been to Kingston Mines. Sure, he'd passed it every time he took the Halsted bus but it never occurred to him to go in. Ben was waiting for him eagerly at the entrance.

"You're going to love this!" Ben said, so enthusiastically that Charlie had a feeling no matter what awaited him inside, he'd love it. After wading through a crowd of yuppies and DePaulians, they found their way to the second stage.

"Pinot grigio ,right?" Ben asked as they stood at the bar.

"Yeah," Charlie said, shocked that he remembered. Once they'd gotten his wine and Ben's scotch, they sat and listened to the band.

"I can't believe you've never been here," Ben said.

"I know. It's nice."

"You do like jazz and blues though, right?"

"Not especially. Though, I mean, it's not that I hate it or anything, I just never gave it a chance, really."

Ben frowned. " I just thought, you know... since your name's Charlie Parker, that you might be named after... "

"It's a family name. I was named after my grandfather."

The frown on Ben's face deepened and his brow furrowed a bit. "Oh."

Charlie started to get nervous: it was too early in the date for things to go south. What the hell could be wrong? Before he could ask, the band finished the song and the piano player got on the mic.

"So we've got a real treat for you tonight guys," the pianist said. "Our good friend Ben, who has traded his music stand for a stethoscope, is in the audience tonight. Let's see if we can't get him out of retirement, at least for one song." Everyone in the audience clapped and cheered and Ben got up, shrugged sheepishly at Charlie.

"Hey guys," Ben said, as the saxophonist handed him his instrument. "So, I wonder if you all have heard of a certain jazz musician named Charlie "Bird" Parker!" The audience clapped and cheered even louder. "Well, um, this song goes out to another very special Charlie. It's called ‘Parker's Mood.' I hope you like it."

And as the drummer counted him in, as Ben put the sax to his lips and let his soul pour out of the instrument, Charlie realized that there was nothing ordinary about this date.



They left the showing of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Tyler was in complete awe. "That was just... wow... that was amazing."

Zan laughed in agreement. "Yeah, it was great. You should read the book."

"There's a book too?"

"Yeah, it came out years ago."

"Unlike me," Tyler joked. "God, if I had that book in high school though, maybe... "

"For sure."

It was still relatively early and Tyler wasn't ready for the date to be over. "Do you wanna hit a bar? Grab a drink?"

Zan looked uneasy. "I don't really do the bar scene, remember?"

"Right, right. Um, well... we could get ice cream or frozen yogurt... "

"Except that it's freezing."


"We could... go back to you place. Watch a movie."

"But we just saw one... "

Zan kissed Tyler, slow and passionately, gently grabbing Tyler's ass as he pulled him closer in. "Let's watch another," he whispered as they parted lips. Tyler nodded eagerly.


Tyler turned the TV in his room on to a random channel, but it couldn't have mattered less what was on: he and Zan were making out hot and heavy in his bed. Hands were going up shirts and down pants. Their two bodies were mashing up hard against each other, searching for warmth and outlet for their passion and hormones.

"Can I spend the night?" asked Zan.

"Um, sure," said Tyler hesitantly.

"If you don't want me to, that's... "

"No, it's not that. I do. It's just... I haven't done this a lot. The whole sex thing. I just... "

"I like you, Tyler."

"I like you too, Zan."

"We can go as far as you want or we could just sleep and cuddle. No pressure."

Tyler kissed him. "Thanks Zan." Zan smiled and kissed him back. "You know... you never told me what Zan was a nickname for."

"Less talking, more smoochies."


Charlie was still aglow from his date with Ben when he woke up. The only bad thing about it was it made having to choose between Ben and Josh even harder. As he came out of his room, he saw another pair of shoes by the door beside Tyler's. Charlie chuckled to himself. "Good for him," he thought. About time Tyler started spreading his wings a bit.

Tyler's date was already awake, eating a bowl of cereal as Charlie entered the kitchen.

"I'm about to make some coffee," Charlie said, trying his hardest not to be obtrusive. "Would you like some?" Tyler's date turned around to respond and they finally saw each other face to face. They were quiet for a moment, shocked and stunned.

"Um... morning Mr. Parker."

"Good morning, Alex."


Volume 4 has been a blast! Stay tuned, as we launch Volume 5 (and the 100th Chapter!) on December 31! Ring in the new year with us at BOYSTOWN THE SERIES. And until then, happy holidays!

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

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

Volume 3 -
Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four, Week Five


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