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

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21-25 Recap (Volume 6)

The week that changed Boystown forever. Nuff said.

21-25 Recap (Volume 6)
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The week that changed Boystown forever. Nuff said.


It'd been so long since LaTrice had hit the Halsted strip after dark. Bougie white gays threw her shade as they passed, but she paid them no mind. She wasn't the girl that was trolling for marks just months before; she had a purpose now.

"Girl, slow down!" Travell said, jogging up behind her.

"Well then keep up, boo," LaTrice said. "We're not just hanging out. Tyler and Edward are taking a big chance with us."

"That new hair look real cute on you," Travell said as they turned left on Aldine. "Much cuter than the braids."

LaTrice smirked and looked at him sideways. "We're working, Travell."

"I know, but... "

"Look, maybe it's best if we split up... "

"Hold up." Travell said, stopping her in place gently by the shoulders. "I just wanna know, why am I so bad? Why won't you give me the time of day?"

"You ain't bad... "

"Then why don't we kick it? Why can't we at least try?"

"Because you know me, boo. You know all my bullshit, all my mistakes, and... "

"And I'm still standing by you. Even when you blow me off. Things are about to get real good for us, LaLa. We both got jobs now, people be treating us like we somebody at Haven. Pretty soon, we can start our lives fresh. And I want to do that with you."

LaTrice's heart melted as Travell looked at her with such earnestness and love. Maybe all the months of putting him off was just her own bullshit drama, keeping everybody away. Fuck it, she thought, took a chance and kissed him. He breathed in deep as their lips met, closing his eyes, filled with joy. She opened her eyes and looked into his.

"That wasn't so bad," she smiled. But his eyes widened as he looked behind her. "Oh so it's like that? You already lookin for something better?"

"No. LaLa, there go Jazmine."

"Fuck that bitch. I ain't looking to start no drama... "

"No, La. She's pulling a knife on some kid." They both ran over as quick as they could. Jazmine had a knife at the poor kid's throat. LaTrice pulled her off him by her cheap ass weave and she dropped the knife. Travell sidled up on the other side, but Jazmine pushed him away and ran down the alley.

"Go after her!" LaTrice told Travell. "Call the cops!" As Travell ran after her, LaTrice helped the poor kid up. "I'm not gonna hurt you, I'm here to help." The kid fell sobbing into her arms.

"Sorry," he wept. "It's just... you're the first person to talk to me in days."

"That's arite, boo. Here, let's call your parents. Let's get you home."

"I can't! I ran away, they won't accept the fact that I'm gay."

"So you been living on the streets?"


"That's okay, boo. I been where you been. But I'm picking up my life and you can too."

The kid wiped his eyes. "I'm Robbie."

"LaTrice," she said, giving him her warmest smile. "Look, there's a place. Like a home? For people like us. How about we go there and see if there isn't a bed available, maybe some leftovers from dinner."

Robbie smiled, hopefully. "That'd be great. What about your friend?"

"He can take care of himself." She put her arm around this poor kid as she walked him out the alley, feeling triumphant that her first night on patrol had helped someone as she'd intended. It wasn't until she looked back briefly for any sign of Travell that she realized that they'd been in the alley where she first met Tyler.



"As I live and breathe, Charlie Parker out and about," Tristan said from behind the bar. Charlie managed a wane smile as he approached the bar. "This deserves shots!" Tristan began over pouring two hearty shots of Jameson for the both of them.

"Hey Tristan," Charlie said. "Yeah... it's been a while."

"I heard about all that shit that's been happening with you at school and it's bullshit."

"Cheers," Charlie said, raising the shot and throwing it back as Tristan poured them Magic Hat chasers.

"I'm sorry that I haven't checked in. I've been busy." The Grindr noise coming from his pocket made him turn bright red.

"Uh huh. Really busy," Charlie said, throwing playful shade. Charlie took the pint of beer and sipped it. "It's ok, I haven't felt quite myself lately. I think this might be the first time I left the house all month."

"Oh! What's the occasion?"

"My boyfriend's taking me to dinner and a show," Charlie smiled, still feeling the odd stomach-butterfly tingle of saying the word "boyfriend" in relation to himself. "But only on the condition that I met him outside of the house. I've been pretty mopey myself."

"I feel ya girl. That's like that one time when Braden and I started trickin' with the same ho... " And as Tristan prattled on with one of his vapidly insipid stories, Charlie smiled as he half-listened. There was no love lost for his bar bestie, for sure, but when life stopped revolving around hopping as many bars as possible in one night or who was tricking with who... it was like the best friend you had in elementary school. The one that was your blood brother, that you always swore would be in your life then running into them one holiday after college, at a grocery store, or on the street and realize that they're a complete stranger. That no matter how many memories you both throw out at each other hoping one will stick and recapture the same old connection between you, nothing bites. Maybe it was a sign that Charlie was indeed growing up and outgrowing Boystown. Maybe Tristan was a friend lost in leaving the second childhood that the gayboorhood imposed.

And as Charlie watched Tristan regale him with his most outrageous escapades, he was filled with a melancholy guilt. He wouldn't leave Tristan behind. Tristan was growing up in his own right and Charlie wanted to know the man he was becoming and introduce Tristan to the man that he was becoming.

"Hey girl, I see my man over there. I should get going, but... you free on Friday? We should hang, just you and me."

"Oooh! You wanna grab some Jack and Coke Slurpees and judge people walking out of Steamworks? Like old times?"

Charlie chuckled. "How about we grab some dinner and go from there? Like new times."

"Ooh a respectable date!" The Grindr sound came from his back pocket and Charlie laughed.

"Might be a nice change of pace."

"Have you ever met someone off of Grindr and it was more than a hookup?" Tristan asked earnestly.

"Sure. Well tried to anyway."

"Was it... weird?"

Charlie started to put on his coat. "If it's about that guy blowing up your phone, take a chance."

"You think I should?"

"When I was in high school, there was this guy... "

"Seabring. Yeah, I heard this story a million times."

"What have you got to lose? If you've been chatting for a minute and haven't raced to the sheets, maybe it's a good thing. You deserve good things." Charlie gave him a peck on his cheek. "See ya Friday. Can't wait to hear how it goes."

Tristan watched Charlie kiss the handsome shaggy brunette by the door and walk out. For the first time in a long time, Charlie looked really happy. Even happier than when he was with Tom. He wanted that. He checked his phone. It was, indeed, another message from JacksonMaxium:

"Want to meet up?"

Tristan thought about it for a minute. Then he replied back. "Yes."



"LaTrice and Travell did good," Edward said as Tyler reviewed the new resident's file.

"I just wish that this poor kid didn't have to go through all that," Tyler said, putting the file on his desk. "How did the entrance interview go?"

"I didn't do it," Edward said, sitting on Tyler's desk. "I thought you should."

"Me? Why me?"

"Well, for one, you went through what he's going through not too long ago. I have a feeling he'll open up to you more than he will to me."

"And second?"

"Second, I might be going on a honeymoon in the near future. Which means that you'll be holding the fort while I'm gone. Might as well start practicing now."

Tyler found the new kid sitting by himself in the multipurpose room. He looked exhausted, scared, and out of place.

"You must be Robbie," he said, sitting next to him. "I'm Tyler Drake. I work here at Haven."

"What's going to happen to me?"

"What do you want to happen?"

Robbie began to cry. "I just want to be a normal kid."

"And who said you weren't?"

"My dad. He was going to take me to a place. Try to change me."

"You know there's nothing wrong with you, right?"

"Yeah. That's why I left."

"Me too."

Robbie looked up at him. "Really?"

"Well, I wasn't in high school. It was this year. I just knew that to be myself, to truly live my life, I had to come here. To Chicago. And if it weren't a bit of luck, I would be right where you're sitting. So I'm here to tell you, nowhere is as bad as where you were. Right now, you have complete control of your destiny for the first time. You say where you go next."

"I almost got killed last night."

Tyler chuckled ironically. "Yeah, that almost happened to me too."

"Did they ever find who did it to you?"

"Yeah. And then she found you."

"You mean... ?"

"People have the immense ability to change. Or surprise you. Or both. You just gotta let them. I know humankind must seem to suck a helluva lot right now but you're gonna make it. There are good people out there, if you find them. And you can have a life."

Edward peeked his head in. "Sorry to interrupt. Tyler, you've got a visitor."

"Can you ask them to wait? I'll be... "

"He's... quite persistent."

When Tyler came out, Alex was waiting impatiently in the hallway.

"Oh. Hi. What are you... ?"

"God, this is awkward," Alex said, rolling his eyes.

"Well, to be fair, you asked for me... "

"Whatever. I need your help. There's this kid that's missing... "

"A lot of our residents are runaways. Some of them are leaving really bad home lifes, their anonymity... "

"Yeah, I don't know what all that means, can you just put this flier up or whatever?" Alex handed him a flier. "There's a Facebook page. Or you can tweet me if... "

"Who is this kid?" Tyler asked, studying the photocopied face staring back at him.

"It's a kid at school. The one with all that drama with Mr. Parker. He ran away from home."

Tyler opened the door to the multipurpose room and looked at Robbie, comparing his face to the flier. It was the same kid.

"Thanks. I'll let you know if I find him." Tyler went back into the multipurpose room and approached Robbie quietly.

"Is everything ok?" Robbie asked.

"I need your help."

"Absolutely! Anything I can do. I can clean or cook. I can earn my keep."

"I should rephrase that. My friend needs your help." Tyler placed the missing flier on the table in front of Robbie. "His name is Charlie Parker."

The color drained from Robbie's face and he stood up abruptly. "I can't. My dad will kill me."

"Charlie's career is on the line. He goes into his disciplinary hearing tomorrow. He could lose his job."

Robbie began to cry. "I've ruined so many lives."

"It's not too late to fix it. You can still... ."

"I can't face him, Mr. Drake. I can't face my Dad."

Tyler put a comforting hand on Robbie's shoulder. "Don't worry. I'll be right there with you." Tyler spent the rest of the day up to his neck in paperwork. He emailed Robbie's file to the on-call social worker. He texted Charlie that they'd found Robbie, that everything was going to be ok. He texted Brad that a quiet night of pizza and DVR sounded great. He caught LaTrice on his way out.

"Hey LaLa, do me a favor? Keep an eye on Robbie. He's pretty shaken up. I'll check in with him first thing in the morning."

LaTrice looked at him puzzled. "Boo, he ain't here. He ain't been here all day."

The color in Tyler's face drained. "What?"

"Yeah," she said digging in her purse. She pulled out the flier. "When Travell came to open up the study hall, he found this just sitting on the table. We thought y'all found who was looking for him and set him loose."

Tyler gripped the crumpled up flier in his hand. The photocopied face just stared back at him.


David looked at his phone as he took the last drag of his cigarette. He had a few minutes before his better half deplaned and got his baggage. He took out some hand sanitizer and did a makeshift hand wash, wincing at the slight sting when he wiped some into his face and neck. He took out the mini bottle of mouthwash he kept n the glove compartment and gargled twice as he Febreezed himself within an inch of his life. As his better half waved from across the cars while he waited at their usual waiting spot in short term parking, he popped a breath mint just in case.

"Hey babe," Other David said, with a sigh, happy to see his better half.

"Hey babe," David said, giving him a quick kiss. Other David looked at him strangely.

"Were you just... did you just have a cigarette?"

David turned red. "Yeah, it's been... rough day at the office."

"Well don't make a habit of it," Other David, loading his bags into the trunk. "Remember how hard it was to kick it the last time?"

David stayed focused on the road, trying to shut out his own thoughts and thus shutting out Other David's trip recap in the process. Traffic was exceptionally shitty at this time of day, which aggravated the fuck out of David. He just wanted to get home.

"Can you believe that?" Other David said with a scoffing laugh.


"Emily's colors."


"For the wedding. Babe, have you been listening to a word I've said?"

"Yeah, I... "

"Fine. Where did mom take me to dinner my first night?" Other David quizzed.

"Um... "

"Babe, what's wrong?"

"Nothing. I'm just distracted."

"Clearly." Other David took his hand and kissed it. "I missed you."

David felt himself begin to cry. He quickly got over into the shoulder, put the car in park, and broke down crying over the steering wheel.

"Ok babe, seriously. What's up?"

David looked up at his better half through bleary, red eyes covered in tears. "We need to talk."



Charlie sat in panicked silence as he waited to be called into the school board hearing. Ben sat beside him, holding his hand.

"Do you want me in there with you?" Ben asked.

"Part of me feels it'd be unprofessional. I'd be holding your hand the whole time. But most of me is thinking, fuck it. I have nothing left to lose. It's hopeless." Robbie's dad approached the door, glowering at Charlie. Ben straightened up and clenched his fists but Robbie's dad entered the room without provoking them further.

"Everyone you love is on their way to support you," Ben said reassuringly. "They'll be waiting out here and are here for you, no matter what happens."

Charlie's union delegate came out. "Charlie, they're ready for you."

"Where do you want me?"

"Out here," Charlie said. "With everyone else I love."

Ben kissed him. "Good luck."

Charlie put on a brave face as he marched into the firing squad. "Oh and thank you, by the way," he said, stopping at the doorway.

"For what?"

"For never once asking if the accusations were true."


He dreamt of prom. Four years of high school culminating in one magic night. He dreamt of milestones that he'd be live through. He dreamt that he was wearing a crisp, black tux and not the sweat stained t-shirt and jeans he'd been wearing for a week. He dreamt that he was there with the Boy of His Dreams, a boy that had Mr. Parker's kind face and Alex's sense of humor. He dreamt that as he searched the whole gym that the dance floor parted and in a soft blue spotlight, the Boy of His Dreams was there. Waiting for him. He dreamt that as they walked to each other, as the music slowed as they took each other into each other's arms to dance, that his classmates smiled. Then they all took each other in each other's arms, boy and girl, girl and girl, boy and boy, and they all dance. Everything was normal. Robbie dreamt.

"Rule one: when you get south of Chinatown on the Red Line, you should probably keep your eyes open. Especially you little white boy." Robbie heard a strangely familiar voice as if from another world. "HEY! Wake up!"

Robbie's eyes shot open and he saw LaTrice sitting next to him. He abruptly shot up, looking for an escape, but LaTrice pushed him back down by the shoulder. "Where you gonna go, boo? We at 95th, you don't wanna be running around the South Side all scared and alone, they'll eat you up."

"How'd you find me?"

"You think you're the first one that's lived on the streets? That's how we all do at first. It was just a matter of going back and forth between the cars to figure out where you were. Switching lines."

"How long were you... ?"

"All night. So you know this shit's important. You gotta come with me. You gotta make things right."

"You know?"

"Tyler told me. I don't know a lot in this world, little butt, but I do know this: you only get one shot at a second chance. And that's what you got. A chance to make things right. How could you live with yourself knowing that you didn't take it?"

"But... my dad... "

"... is going to keep scaring the fuck out of you as long as you let him. You gotta make a stand, little butt. Who has been there for you more when you needed them? Your dad or Charlie?"

"Mr. Parker. He fought for me. He's always there for me."

"And you're gonna let him down?"

"I'm scared, LaTrice."

"I know. I know. But doing the right thing is scary. And that's what you wanna do, right?"


The picture of the kiss was presented.

"Mr. Parker... can you identify the people pictured in this image?" the school board president asked.

Charlie cleared his throat. "Myself. And a student. Robert Pittman."

"And what act are you engaging in in this picture?"

"Kissing, sir."

"And do you find this behavior appropriate between teacher and student?"

"Not in the slightest, sir. But, to be fair, I didn't initiate the kiss."

"You lying faggot!" Mr. Pittman screamed, shooting up from his seat.


LaTrice pulled Robbie along as they ran up Clark Street to the building that housed the Chicago Public Schools' office.

"What if we're too late?" Robbie panicked.

"We wouldn't be if you'd hurry up. Damn, bitch, I'm running in heels, what's your excuse?" They reached the security desk. "We need to get up to CPS. The board meeting."

"Y'all gotta sign in," said the security guard. "ID's?"

Robbie turned pale. "I don't have one."

"He's just a kid," implored LaTrice. "And it's really important that we get up there. It's a matter of life and death!"

"Nobody's getting up there without an ID."

"Look, sir," LaTrice began, unable to control the increasing volume of her voice. "I know you tryin to do your job, but I told you, if we don't get up there, someone's life is going to get seriously fucked up. So PLEASE! Can we just once, just this once, turn a blind eye and let us pass?"

The security guard clenched his jaw and rolled his eyes. "Not without an ID."

LaTrice dropped her purse on the ground. "See, look, I tried to reason with you, but now... " A police officer approached.

"Is there a problem here?" he asked.

And LaTrice knew that it was over.


"That deviant is perverting my son! He's using this subversive group of his to seduce young men and my boy was his latest victim."

"Mr. Pittman, would you please sit down!" The school board president demanded.

Mr. Pittman begrudgingly acquiesced. "The proof is right there," he said gesturing to the picture.

The school board president sighed. "He's not wrong, Mr. Parker. I'm afraid the evidence against you is overwhelming."

"But he didn't do it!" came a voice from the back. All heads turned to find Robbie standing at the doorway, with LaTrice close behind him.

"Robbie!" Mr. Pittman cried out, with equal parts relief and outrage.

Robbie hesitated. "Go ahead, boo," LaTrice said. "Be strong. Not for Charlie, but for you."

Robbie took a breath and looked his dad dead in the eye. "It was me. I kissed him."

"Robbie, you're confused. You don't know what you're saying," Mr. Pittman pleaded.

"I'm not dad. I'm gay. No matter how many times you try to beat it out of me, it won't stop being true. Mr. Parker didn't do anything but be a good teacher and a good mentor. I thought that meant he liked me and... I kissed him. But he pushed me away and told me it was wrong. Mr. Parker didn't do anything wrong. It was me." Robbie turned tearfully and looked at Charlie. "I'm so sorry."


Steve closed down the back bar of The Pitstop specifically so they could keep the drinks flowing and celebrate Charlie's victory.

"What's going to happen to Robbie?" Tyler asked as Hunter filled everyone's glasses with champagne.

"He's with Child Protective Services," Charlie said. "With the physical abuse going on at home, it was deemed too unsafe for him to return."

"I hope he doesn't get lost in the system," Edward said. "The foster care system in this city can get tricky."

"I'll see if I can't do a follow up," Tyler said. "I can't believe LaTrice found him. She looked all night."

"I can't believe they made it in time," Charlie said.

"Thankfully, they had their own police escort," Hunter said, putting his arm around Fitz.

"The one time I'm actually thankful for traffic," Fitz chuckled. "I wouldn't have recognized that kid if it hadn't been for that missing flier your other student brought to the station."

"Yeah," said Charlie. "I guess that little shit's good for something."

"Alright, enough of this mush," Eddy said, having already downed her glass of champagne and refilling it. "My brother is officially not a pedophile. Though if you would've seen some of the tricks he brought home from Market Days last year... "

"Ahem," Charlie glared, holding Ben's hand

Eddy raised her glass. "To Chuck. You are one lucky fuck."

They all toasted and drank. Charlie smiled at everyone around him and remembered yet again how truly lucky he was how many people cared about him. It was odd that the Davids weren't there and Becka was still in self-exile in the burbs, but everyone he loved in Chicago was in that room: Hunter, Ben, Tyler, Steve, Edward, Eddy, Tristan. Fuck. Tristan. He'd had plans with Tristan.

Steve assured him that the party would be going as late as Charlie wanted and with the booze flowing, there was no danger of any of his family leaving. He promised his bar bestie a dinner; they could catch up over a quick bite then head to the party. Charlie couldn't help but smile as he walked up Halsted on the way to Tristan's. It was six o'clock and the sun was just barely beginning its descent into the horizon. After all the shit he'd been through, Charlie finally felt that everything was going to be alright. That his life was starting fresh..

Someone was coming out of Tristan's building as he came up, so they held the door open for him. He walked up the stairs to the third floor and knocked on 317. The door came open.

"Tristan?" Charlie called out. He peeked his head in. As the TV blared mindlessly, Tristan lay on the floor lifeless in a pool of his own blood.

Volume 7 launches March 25th! Catch up here:

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

Volume 4 -
Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four, Week Five

Volume 5 -
Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four, Week Five


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