Log:Cemetary Sex Ed
It's January, but it's also Arizona, so really, not that cold. It's sweater or light jacket weather, really. School has started up again, but has been out about an hour. Faintly one can here the sound of a flute playing. It gets louder the closer one gets to the graveyard. It's really beautiful, and somehow vaguely familiar without being instantly recognizable, unutterly corriful and strangely comforting all at once. Give it a little time, and it comes clear. Someone has translated Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" for the flute, and added trills and rather plaintive variations on the basic melody.
Spear is a bit taller than a lot of kids his age, but he is very, _very_ skinny. He has long fingers, prominent hips and ribs, and he is wearing the latest in 'Old overcoat' and 'I found this on the beach'. Tags and a crow skull and a big scarf. He heads on over, his hands in his pockets, peering around "Heeyyyy. Is it you guys again? Because I want you to know that I've learned kung fu since last week!"
The music stops, then a voice with a hint of laughter in it starts singing, "Cemetary Gates" by the Smiths in a descent tenor.
Spear arrives and peers around the edge of the graveyard. He is at home here. People talk to him here - ghosts, spirits. Spear likes the predictability and comfort of the place. He calls out "Okay, who's there? Because I really do know like. How to. Hey! This is my place, dude!"
Hector is sitting behind a tombstone, in a black cloth coat. His flute dangles between his legs, case open at his side. He has black doc Martins and black skinny jeans. The coat's lapel has a little pink triangle button mixed in with a few band ones pinned to it. He laughs and waggles his flute, "I can go if you like? How do you learn Kung Fu in one week?" He's more sturdily built than his half brother, athletic the way swimmers and surfers tend to be, but not football player bulky.
Spear says "I took a correspondence course." He is lying, of course. He shoves his hands into his pockets and he says "Eh, I'm not the most popular dude around here, you know? Things just quite worked out for me - yet. But I'm sure that they will!" He grins, showing his white teeth with their little points. And then he says "Nah, don't go. Erm, are you here because of your..." He pauses "I mean, you know, I know it's been hard for you, like, but you don't _have_ to hang out in the Dead Places because the rest of us Thistles do."
Hector clearly doesn't believe in the magical correspondence course, but he doesn't do more than raise his eyebrows at the lie. "I didn't want to bother people with my practicing and I... like it here. It has character. In a graveyard, you're never alone." His expression darkens at all the dancing around his dead mother, and he starts disassembling his instrument.
"Man, is that ever true," says Spear, and he folds his arms and starts to say "You know, just the other night, I -" But that would sound a bit too strange. So instead he says "Hey, I recognize those pins. Huh, cool - they're from some of the magazines I have. You can send away for them. Is that what you did?"
Hector looks down at his lapel, "I got most of them at shows." He points to the pink triangle one. "I got this last Pride. My..." He takes a breath, "My Mom let me go alone." He looks up at Spear, studying him, 'I wasn't sure how well the rainbow one would go over around here. Triangle's more subtle. What magazines?"
"You mean like, in a Pride parade?" asks Spear "Huh, cool - I'll have to interview you about that sometime, though probably the editors will pull it. I mean, don't get me wrong, those guys are great. But I don't think you could get anything like that published. It's not like we're, you know, one of those magazines from San Francisco." He puts his hands together and he says "Oh, mom - I mean, er, our mom? Well, she's not gonna care. Or dad either. They talk to a lot of...they see a lot of dead people. You know. It gives you a sense of perspective. Er, my magazines about, you know, life in, erm." He gestures.
Hector nods, "My Mom and I used to go. She says... said I can't go to Folsom street fair until I'm eighteen." he looks away, "I guess I'll never go now." He looks back sharply, "Dead people? Like in the prep room or..." He looks really confused at that last, "I'm not sure I follow."
"Yeah, in the prep room. The fact is, when you see a lot of dead people, the small things that living people do seem less small, unless they hurt someone," explains Spear, and he says "What's Folsom street fair?" He pauses and sits, his ass on one of the tombstones "Oh, man, that's fine, dude, no one follows me. I like the music though. You can talk about your mum with me...is, er, she still here for you?"
Hector says, “Folsom's the one for Kinky people. Lots of leather and stuff...." He wrinkles his nose, "I think it's because you leave stuff out of the sentences, like what magazines. Just take it slow, I'll keep listening." He narrows his eyes, "Still there how?"”
"Oh, huh, _well_ of course, er, I knew that," says the goth, who has coloured up alarmingly "You know, what with being so. Worldly." He laughs, and he says "Well, I've got to talk a bit too fast to go into _details_. Magazines, well. Okay, I read a bunch because of course, as a journalist, I need to spread out my knowledge. Fortean Times, the New Yorker, Playboy and Christopher Street." He counts off, then he says "You know. Do you still talk to her? Is she still someone you...talk to."
Hector says, “The Fortean times? What's that? I think I've seen advertisements for Christopher Street in the back of the Advocate. Playboy, huh?" Those dark eyes are forthright and intelligent as he studies his brother. "I think this conversation will make a lot more sense if you relax, brother." He hesitates only a moment, "Are you trying to figure out if I'm gay?" He lifts his chin, a little defiant, "I'm Bisexual, actually."”
"Sorry, I just, erm. I'm not really good about focus? I mean, you know, it's overrated unless you're deep within the warm arms of -art-," says Spear, and he shrugs "It has articles and hot girls, what am I gonna say about it? And yeah, the Advocate isn't really my thing. I like stuff with candid interviews and a lot of photos. It's _people_, you know? Fortean Times..." his eyes start to gleam "That's about the _truth_. The real heart of the world." He adds brightly "I am kind of relaxed! I just, erm, I just - wait, what? No? Oh! I'd ask if I wanted to know!" He adds "...are you? Hmm. I did think you were gay, though."
Hector is not unkind or challenging about it, it's more he's trying to puzzle the conversation and hus his half brother out as he goes, "Definitely Bi. I've had boyfriends and girlfriends. You?"
"Oh, I have seen _so many things_ that science can't explain - that's my main interest," says Spear, who stares up at the sky vaguely "You know, flying saucers. The truth? It's totally out there, man." He pauses at that last sentence, if only because his firefly attention just seemed to focus "Oh! I've never had a girlfriend. I want one in time for the prom, but I kind of find it, er. Well. It's scary. Talking to girls." A much longer pause "I have all of these ideas - but they never seem to work out. I did date a boy for a while, but, uh, he dumped me. Maybe he never really..." Slowly, his voice trails off "Because I _feel_ really like. Alone."
Hector listens carefully, untangling the conversational threads. He's been a subdued presence in the house, withdrawn, despite all their father's efforts to draw him out. "Girls are people. Just talk to them like people and listen to the answers." He links, "Shit. I'm sorry you got dumped." He hesitates, "Do you, uh, want a hug or something? I'm new at this Sibling stuff."
"No, sorry, I kind of...yeah, sorry dude, I just don't _know_ you that well yet," says Spear, and he tilts his head, looking at Dare sideways "Don't worry about me. My sisters got it." His lips quirk "Must be super weird being in _this_ family, right?" And then he adds "I know girls are, but they're. Well. Weird. So are boys." He suddenly frowns, thunderous "I don't get it. I tried to do everything right. Our family's real nice. Everyone in it. Mom and dad aint' gonna go bonkers because girls might like girls, or boys might like boys. I'm a _good_ boyfriend. Lots of attention and stuff." He sighs "But oh well. I think romance isn't for me, you know? Anyway. Okay! You're like that? Cool." A bit more of a pause "...I get told this aint' San Fran."
Hector nods, "That's fair." He looks away, "I've been an only child my whole life. I learned you all existed about a month ago. I think that's weird enough on it's own. I don't think I've ever even met triplets before." He starts visibly at the change in tone. He turns back, blinking slowly. Moving the careful way one does so as not to startle an animal, he reaches into his pocket for a lighter and a partially smoked joint, "You want to have a toke and talk about it? And yes, it's definitely not San Francisco." He looks around rather mournfully, thinking of the many many ways it isn't. He makes an effort, "At least the graveyard's really nice, not one of those neat and characterless modern cemeteries where it's all... samey."
"Man, I've got a tonne of cousins and siblings and everything," explains Spear "I've got another half brother - he was one of twins too. It's weird to me that you're not one of a group, our family throws a lot of, you know. Duplicates. My sisters are nice though. Our sisters." He smiles a bit dreamily "Yeah, they've always been good to me, Star and Silver. They got my back - like I got yours." He eyes the joint, and then he says "I was told not to talk about it, because it's weird, but I don't know. He was nice. I mean, I thought he was. I was totally. Like. Into him. I guess he wasn't into...me?" He nods "Yeah, it's cool." A bit of a pause "I've done drugs before."
Hector says, “I don't..didn't. Because I guess I have them now? I have some second cousins back in Portugal, but I never met them. You can talk about it with me. You know I won't be weird about it, and it's not like I know him, whoever he is, and I have your back too." He sticks it between his lips and lights it, taking a practiced breath and holding it in, as he offers it across.”
Spear reaches out to take it, and he pauses "I don't know what to say about it," he mutters "He's the only person I'm ever gonna care about, and he didn't wanna be with me, in the end. I can show you the letter, later, but. It's just a thing, you know? I miss him. He was great. Real warm guy. Sweet. But I guess I liked him more than he liked me." He shakes his head, slowly, and then he says "Oh, man, you are not yet used to how the fact everything is weird with us. Sorry about your mom."
Hector lets the smoke out and just breathes a bit. "Don't think of it like that. People aren't paired up at birth, you know? It's not: here's your one and only true love. It's more like people fit together all kinds of different ways and sometimes it doesn't work out or one reason or another. Sometimes you really like each other but you can't make it work for whatever reason. Like my mom and your dad liked each other and had a good time, but it was a vacation fling kind of thing not a forever kind of thing. Or people change. Or someone has to move or go back home or... or they really love someone, you know? But they're going through some things and they just can't do that and be with someone even if he's the best thing that ever happened to him." He eyes him, "Everyone's sorry but that doesn't bring her back. Not in the flesh."
Spear breathes in, and holds the smoke in his lungs. And after a moment, he says, still holding his breath "Nah. I really knew it. He was great for me. Really nice. And I'm eighteen, man. Old enough to know when it's like. The real deal. But he found some other person, and that was it. Maybe Thistles aren't meant to be with people. It's hard to tell. Sometimes I wonder..." His voice trails off a bit, and then he says "Yeah, maybe. Well. It's gone, it's done. I'm more interested in the paper now." He cuts his eyes cautiously as the man talks about his mother.
Hector watches his brother to see how he handles the smoke. He has trouble telling when Spear is telling the truth. When it seems okay he leans back against the stone, "Except for this girl you want to ask to prom." He lets the topic of his mother drop. After all, he wouldn't want his new family to think he's crazy.
"Well, the thing is, my sisters are pretty cool, and they know a lot of girls, and _those_ girls are a bit like sisters, so it gets weird, but." The young guy frowns and offers the joint back. His head is clearly buzzing "I don't wanna hurt anyone, but you know - it's prom. Who doesn't wanna just. Have a dance?" He says wistfully "I really like dancing, you know? I like all the best bands. I like moving my body. It'd just be nice to move it with someone else."
Hector nods slowly as he takes the spliff, "Must be weird only having people who remember you in diapers it ask out. I tried dating my best friend once, but it didn't work out so well." He shrugs, "At least we stayed friends." He has another long toke, eyes closed ad passes it back. When he can talk again he says, "I like dancing too. We could you know. Dance in your room or something. Not... like a couple, because that would be weird, but just dancing. Close our eyes and just enjoy the music. My friends and I used to go places and dance in a group."
Spear's eyes have become occluded "No. I'm not asking anyone else out. I'm just. I'm done, you know? I felt what it was like really being wanted and being in love, but...uh. He. Didn't feel the same way in the end. And he just dumped me, not even face to face. I guess it was because I wanted too much." He frowns "I like kissing and making out, but...I was kind of wanting to do a bit more, and I guess he didn't wanna." He shrugs a bit, and he says "We could, I dunno. I find it hard to tell what's normal and what's not, you know? Thistle problems. You had friends? Why...didn't you stay there? You're old enough."
Hector cocks his head, "How are you getting a irl to go to prom with you without asking her out?" His own eyes are half closed, "Sometimes you have to be patient. You want your first time to be right... Or was it your first time? I had lots of friends, but apartments are expensive and the money's going to be tied up a year or two in probate the lawyer said. What do you mean Thistle problems? Is it like Freelands being stubborn? That's a saying here right?"
"Look, can we maybe just not go into it, you know. Everyone is supposed to take a sweetheart to the prom, you're like...a failure if you don't do it. You know." He stretches, and then he stands up off the grave, and he then crouches to prod at some fresh grave dirt "Yeah, I tried dating someone who was basicaly my best friend. But I don't think we're friends anymore. I don't...mean to be needy. I just. You know. Want some..." He shakes his head, and then he says "Hey, I've had dates. This isn't my first time going on a date! Uh. No. Not problems like that. Being a Thistle. It means, you know." He taps the side of his head "You see better than most people."
Hector contemplates that, "I tried that too. My first time with a guy. It just got weird and we didn't really know what we were doing. It was so much better with someone I didn't know since before we had pubes.... If you're done with that, pass it back. I don't know where to get more when I run out of the ones I brought." He sighs, "I loved him so much you know? Not my best friend. I mean I loved Sean. I still do, but we weren't in love. I mean this guy I was really in love with. I was in love with Vanessa too, that's my second my second girlfriend, but this guy was really special, you know?" From his expression and his tone, it's obvious he's still completely head over heals, "He was not like anybody else. just perfect though you know? handsome and talented and sensitive and I just... wanted to be with him forever.... Only My Mom... I couldn't do both, you know?" He looks at Spear, really baffled, "Are you saying we're all crazy?"
Spear stares down at the joint and then he breathes it in, and he passes it back finally to Hector, and he says "You mean, your first time kissing? I don't know, you just sort of put your lips on someone and do some kisses." Do Some Kisses. He shakes his head, and then he says "Oh, no, I have a really good friend, I get stuff from him sometimes. He's really nice, he's kinda cute - he's fuckin' bonkers in his own way, though. I mean, you can _see_ that he's into guys, but he's all," And Spear lifts his hands up "I got a girlfriend in _Paris_ and she's a super model!" He then grins and he sits back, and he says "...yeah. I. Know. All of those things. I had someone like that. But the fact is. I'm not. Handsome, talented, and sensitive. So I got dumped." He shakes his head "No. I mean, we see real things that others can't."
Hector inhales a last time and carefully pinches it out with wet fingers. He freezes joint halfway to his pocket, "Not kissing. I meant going all the way. Kissing is easy, but they don't tell you you need, like, a lot of lube with guys, and sort of... a different kind? The stuff on the free condoms fine with a girl, but not you need more and thicker stuff with a dude. You'd think they'd mention it in health class, you know?" He tucks the joint away properly, "Could you introduce me to your friend?" He giggles, "At least it's more creative than Canada. Everyone says Canada." He squints at him, "You look okay to me. You just need to move somewhere your look makes mor sense, you know? Like Seattle maybe. I bet you'd get lots of people wanting to kiss you there." He wrinkles his nose. "Not me though, because that would be weird. But this guy I knew, Drew? He'd have been all over you, especially if you were a good dancer." He blinks slowly three times, "Do you mean you take a lot of acid or 'shrooms, or are you taking like... Fairies and shit?"
"Oh, erm. I've gone all the way." There is a pause "Okay, I totally haven't. But I wanted to. I guess my partner didn't. You know. Er, wanna do it with a guy." He pauses, and he shrugs "Ehhh, I don't really pay too much attention to those details." Liar. He folds his arms "Yeah, I can introduce you to Jade. He's my buddy. But seriously, don't mess with the guy, okay? He's kind of having some emotional issues." He puts his chin in his hand "No, I'm a horrible freak, like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I don't want to think about Drew or anyone else. I'm _alone_. And I'm better of alone." He blinks "What, no, god. You're such a doofus. We see ghosts."
Hector stares at him disbelieving until he comes clean, then he's all earnest and supportive. "It's really okay. I mean, you can do a lot of really cool stuff with your hands and mouth. It's still sex and it's a whole lot safer." he cocks his head, "I don't know what the sex ed is like here, or if they do those queer safe sex lectures with the dental dams for the lesbians and the AIDS prevention stuff for guys, or what they have in the drugstores, but I could give you some of my supplies, just in case you know? I mean, I know you're sworn to celibacy, but you might change your mind. Is Jade your ex? I kind of lost track." Then he's staring wide eyed at his half brother and blushing to his ears, "This isn't a trick to get me to admit I'm crazy is it?"
Spear looks at Hector in alarm. Talking about things like this outright is beyond his abilities - and that of most teenagers "Uhh, well, I do know how someone gets pregnant. I mean, you know, a girl. Dude, you don't need to go over those details with, like me. I'm not gonna. Erh. What, AIDS? That's that sort of grim reaper thing, right?" And then he says "No. I don't wanna do anything. I mean, maybe, I dunno, I just hurt, okay. It was all in the last few months, and I'm not really. Into the idea of anyth...what? No." He pauses "Absolutely not. I mean. He'd have to like. Admit he's borrowing my magazines first." He shakes his head and then he says "I don't get it? No, I mean, all of us triplets can talk to dead people. I mean, I guess _anyone_ can. It's just that they talk back to us."
Hector grew up queer in San Francisco during the still on going Plague. He's been to protests and pride. He's had queer inclusive safe sex in school and from his mom. He's been out for a few years and he's been sexually active for over a year. He's not most teens, especially not small town teens. sSeveral slow blinks, "Okay. I'm... going to write home and have some friends mail me some pamphlets okay. In the mean time, I think I have a copy of that Sandman Death teaches safe sex insert somewhere in one of the book boxes. I'll lend it to you, okay? Because not knowing stuff could really, really hurt you, and I like you and I don't want to lose a brand new brother right out of the gate." He flashes him a grin, "I'll leave my old Advocates in he bathroom when I'm done with them, okay? And i'll promise to be gentle to Jade." He studies spear, weighing. Finally he admits, "I guess I really am a Thistle."
"Dude," says the guy, suddenly, almost irritated "It's not gonna happen. I don't want to think about it. He didn't...I didn't. And no one. Is _ever_ gonna want to take me to another dance. Or say yes if I ask them. It's just not going to happen...wait. Wait, you mean Sandman has some of that? Where is that?" Okay, so now he is interested. And then he says "Oh, yeah, the Advocate...politics isn't really my sort of thing..." And finally he shoves his hands in his pockets "Well. Then. So you hear it?" He pauses "Not all ghosts are nice, you know."
Hector winks, "It's a Death four pager. They came in all the Vertigo titles free for months. Seriously, when we get back I'll lend you it and you can poke through my graphic novels and comics and borrow whatever as long as you keep them nice and put them back in their bags.... Okay, I want a sandwich or something first, but then we'll find the box and you can look at my comics." he takes a breath, "Look, you don't have to talk about this stuff with me, just... think of it as useful information you can share if one of your friends needs it. Reading up on stuff isn't going to hurt you and it could help someone you care about." His shoulders slump, "It only started like a weak ago. I thought I was hearing voices or something, like in a bad way.
"One of my what," says Spear, a bit dryly, and then he waves his hand, and he says "Look, I just don't wanna talk about it. I hurt. I really hurt. I know I...messed up. And I don't know what happened, or what I got wrong. I know it'll be okay in the end. I just. I wanna focus on other stuff." He stares at the ground and then he looks back at Hector, and he says "...okay. So what kind of voices, first. Usually we start hearing, er, family members. Or I did."
Hector suddenly drops his cool kid mask, "I hurt too. My Mom's dead and this perfect guy I'm going to be in love with forever htes me and it's my fault and I'm right now living in the middle of nowhere with a family full of strangers and a town full of weird ss history and i hear dead things now or maybe I'm just crazy and there's no where to surf and I can't get a Bánh mì, let alone a decent one and my dead mom's been whispering in my ear for two weeks. She died on Christmas Eve! So that's ruined forever. I just... look, I've just been trying to make friends with you or whatever."
Spear shows his teeth, a bit nervously. He is absolutely not the empath that Cash is, but he does try to pet the man on the arm a little "Er, I don't know what a Bánh mì is, and I've never been surfing, but there's a lake, you know? And that's cool. I'm sorry about your mom." He pauses and he says "Like why would he hate you?" And then he says "The thing is though, we are friends, right? I mean, we're brothers." One of his eyebrows goes up "I do like you. I mean, er, sorry if I wasn't clear. Oh! Would you like a bug?"
Hector rubs his forehead, "It's been a shitty four months, sorry." He takes a breath and lets it out slowly, "Bánh mì is basically the best kind of sandwich in the world. It's Vietnamese." Another slow breath in and out, "Because I basically promised him forever, but the Mom was dying and I just couldn't deal and he had a chance to go home and he sort of felt terrible about leaving his ex and he missed him and his family and I really just... I was horrible because I couldn't be a good boyfriend and he needed... He needs someone who can give him him all the... the everything he deserves and could barely handle.... and okay she'd been sick for a long time and I'd take care of her when she had a bad chemo, but she was still going to work and doing, you know normal stuff only all at once she really really wasn't okay and she needed someone there all the time and I just... I couldn't be a boyfriend. Making him go home was for his own good, but I hate myself for doing that to him. It was unforgivable and he'll never ever forgive me and he really, really shouldn't.
Hector gives him a quizzical look, "A bug?"
"Er, you know, a bug," says Spear, and he digs a hand in his pocket and pulls out what looks like the carapace of a giant beetle, gleaming green electric and blue "See, I collect some cool bugs, turn 'em into art. Taxidermy type stuff. Want it?" He offers it to Hector "Er, all of that sounds. Really bad. I mean, it _is_ bad, but on the up side, you're a Thistle, right? For us, no one ever goes away forever. And when we die, eventually, we'll come back too, and talk to the other Thistles. I mean. It's almost like being one of us is being immortal. Take the bug, Hector." He beams at him, suddenly, showing white teeth "We could make like, a place for your mom, with flowers and shit."
Hector does a slow blink, but says carefully, "Sure." He takes it and really examines it, "Okay, that really is cool. Thanks." He takes out the old metal hard candy tin where he keeps his joint and other small fragile things and tucks the bug away. He eyes Spear, "You won't tell anyone I'm basically a monster will you? I'd like to maybe... have a fresh start dating wise." He cocks his head, "Like one of those shine things the Mexicans do for Día de Muertos?"
"What do you mean basically a monster?" asks Spear, outright puzzled "Er, you mean, you're a werewolf? Wait, fuuuuck - are you serious? Are you _serious_?!" And he does nod, a bit "Yeah, like those."
Hector snorts, "Werewolves are imaginary. I mean I totally destroyed someone who loed me completely because I was selfish and stupid and I just... I want to be a good person from nw on. I'm going to try to do better.... where would we put it. the shrine? you ever notice you're easier to follow when you're stoned?"
"Dude, your mom was dyin'," says Spear "I think you're allowed to do whatever. At least you didn't send a letter to break up with some guy. It could be way worse." He says "Oh, my room, if you want, or we could find a really nice place somewhere in the woods?" He stares out at the darkness "Yeah. I can't think in poetry like this. I'm way too fucked up. Man. Maybe...I don't really want to leave for the city though. I couldn't leave Star and Silver, you know? Like. We share everything."
Hector shakes his head, "He needed me as much as she did, only a different way and he's... sweet and trusty and sensitive.... A letter? Was he off on vacation or something?" he giggles, "You are. Definitely fucked up... Oh hey, you write poetry? Maybe we could compose something together. Like I song about... about missing him you know? Only I'm bad with words. You could write a poem about your ex with the right meter and we could make a whole song.... It might be weird me going to your room at night to talk to my dead mom. The woods might be better."
"Yeah. He went on vacation without me," says Spear. Or, at least, that is what it felt like - Cash went off to have a life without him. He sighs, and heavily, and then he says "The woods sound good - your dead mom. Not mine. I know mine _isn't_ your mom. But. She knows her kids are different, you get it? She's way cool." He gives a faint smile, and then he says "So, erm, you had sex with this guy? Was it really all it's cracked up to be? Because I kinda suspect it can't be." Then he adds "We could write a song together!"
Hector leans forward, "Better. It was perfect. Way better than that time with Sean. I thought the old people were full of shit, but seriously, amazing." Let's build the shrine and I'll play you the song on my guitar and we'll right that song, but first can we get something to eat?"
"Sure," says the young man "I bet dinner's waiting for us by now." He gives a faint smile, but he has other things to think about than sex - grades, and being beaten up at school and what on earth he is going to do next "Let's go."
Hector gets up, taking the flute with him, "I think this is the start of an amazing friendship."