Boys Don't
by cgb

Fifteen years old and Mickey Harrison takes him into his father's garage and shows him a "men's" magazine. He's seen porn before, of course, but it never looked like this. Mickey calls them, "faggots" and its clear from his tone that this is something to stir disgust, something shameful. But Mickey's eyes linger a little too long on each page, too long to be dismissed as curiosity.

To Toby it's all too unreal. No one does that in his world - no one does that in his imagination and at fifteen he has a pretty vivid imagination. Some times, alone in his bedroom, he can conjure an almost perfect recollection of the girl who works behind the counter at the neighbourhood gas station: she's wearing the white, scoop neck, close fitting, tank top she wore yesterday when she gave him change for a dollar. It reveals the perfect roundness of her breasts, the hint of a nipple and aureole when the door is opened and a cold wind blows through. It allows him to picture her unclothed, getting down on her knees to wrap candy-pink lips around his dick. He imagines how it would feel to have a warm mouth take him in, apply the kind of soft pressure he can't emulate with his hand.

The fantasy ends when he comes into a fistful of kleenex. At fifteen he's careful. Doesn't leave evidence behind.

Nineteen and Merrick Johansen kisses him on the mouth. They're drunk, standing outside's Merrick's dorm room, listening through the window as Merrick's room mate argues with his girl friend. They laugh, smoke a joint, drink beer from plastic cups and sing along when they hear the Cure filtering through someone's open window - Robert Smith telling them boys don't cry.

They kiss. It isn't unlike kissing a girl only Merrick is more aggressive than the girls Toby's kissed. Merrick pins Toby to the wall, presses his knee between his thighs until Toby can feel Merrick's erection through his levis.

He's not ready. He pushes Merrick away, sends him staggering back to a safe distance.

"This is not..." Toby tells him. "I'm not..."

"It's okay," Merrick says, raising his hands in surrender. He turns away and disappears into the dark, leaving Toby to contemplate a lingering masculine smell and the stirring of his own traitorous erection.


He tells himself it doesn't mean anything.

Years later he wonders if it meant everything - if every encounter in his confused youth lead him to Oz, all wrapped up in the infirmary and no place to go. Stick a bow on him, place him under the tree and don't open until Christmas. He wishes he had a mirror so he could see how ridiculous he looks. It's been a long time since he's had something to laugh about.

Laughter is probably a bad idea. One deep breath and he is acutely aware of his breaks. When the morphine wears off it's like his bones splitting all over again, as if it's the drugs holding them together.

In Oz, drugs hold everything together. Here's something to laugh about: they're pumping him so full of morphine they could chop him into little pieces, put him in cold storage and he'd supply Oz's addicts long enough to put the Italians and the homeboys out of business. Forget about ashes, nothing so symbolic as having his posthumous remains spread over Em City. He'd probably end up in Adebisi's nose, giving him an embolism. There's poetry in that.

No doubt about it, he's turned into a sick fuck. And he used to be such a nice guy. Sure, he had an alcohol problem, maybe lacked an ethic or two in the course of legal wheeling and dealing, but he never killed anyone - at least not intentionally - and isn't mens rea what distinguishes the real criminals from the morally confused?

His former profession makes less sense the longer he's in Oz. Jurisprudence never contemplated getting repeatedly raped for ones crimes.

Sister Pete visits the hospital wing giving him her usual mix of sympathy and admonishment. She doesn't asks how it happened or who is responsible but says something like, "don't tell me you didn't expect this," and he doesn't disagree because Sister Pete is usually right and when it comes down to it, he really did expect this.

He tells her, "I'm being punished."

Sister Pete sighs. "You made an error of judgement and you're suffering the consequences. Call it what you will but don't be distracted from what's going on here, Toby. You can't afford to be foolish."

He likes listening to her. Everything she says is reasonable and he misses reason in his life. He thinks he should find an excuse for her to stay.

But she's gone by the time Schillinger does the mail round - Schillinger in his gen pop greys and white supremacy arrogance, leering at Toby's casts with lasciviousness. There are no laws of enmity in Oz. It's all wound up in sex and strategising, an endless clamour to be on top of the pile so you can fuck everyone underneath. Screw you and hoo-fucking-ray for me and mine. Toby knows civilisation as hating your enemy from a respectable distance, preferably the three feet separating one side of the court from the other.

But the sight of Schillinger is always welcome. When Schillinger's around Toby can feel his toes, invigorated by the knowledge that Schillinger and the rest of Oz's Aryan chorus line are dumb as fuck and getting them to destroy themselves should be child's play for someone who mastered taxation law.

Chris Keller is a whole 'nother matter. Chris is smart. In another reality Chris would have been in corporate public relations: yes, we are screwing you with our new fee system but look how pretty I am when I smile. All warm handshakes and shoulder clasps, and compliments on Prada suits. Funny how he never noticed the homoeroticism in corporate schmooze before.

His thoughts go into overdrive: Chris in a suit and tie, Chris in a board room, Chris with his Armani trousers crumpled around his knees, bent over Toby's desk as Toby hooks thumbs in Chris's white Calvin Kleins and - oh hey - turns out there's a part of him that isn't broken. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, he can't do a thing about it. Talk about justice.

Dr Gloria interrupts his masochistic fantasy by waving a chart in front of his face. "Earth to Beecher - Toby, I'm talking to you."

"Uh - what?"

"I said, I want to start weight and motion exercises on your legs. We would have earlier only wouldn't you know it, we're not staffed for occupational therapy." She says the last part with disbelief in her voice, like no one should be expected to heal in these conditions.

He has two questions for Dr Gloria. The first is, when will he be able to take a piss on his own and the second is why does a beautiful and intelligent woman work in a prison infirmary? The former requires an immediate answer but the latter is more interesting.

Instead, he says, "Hurts like hell when I move."

Dr Gloria says, "Hmm," in that way doctors do. "The inflammation around the break should subside in the next week or two. It'll get easier after that."

It's been two weeks. He can feel his larger toes but the pain from the broken area masks all sensation. He's probably due for his next morphine dose.

He says, "When can I go back to Em City?"

She pauses, looks puzzled. "Two weeks, three weeks - why are you in such a hurry to go back?"

"Stuff to do." People to see, places to go, deals to be done. He needs to start planning.

Dr Gloria frowns. She takes his chart, checks his morphine and moves on. He'll expect her later for his top up. She worries about him. They all do. They think he's not supposed to be here but so does the judge who sent him up so their reflection on the injustice done is kind of redundant.

Too fucking bad. Here he is.

And he's quite possibly crazy. Only a crazy man would do this to himself - this thing he does where he imagines his revenge in vivid detail, movie-like in its focus on intense close-ups and slow motion, the swell of the orchestra as Keller and Schillinger finally know how crucially they underestimated him.

Keller in particular. Toby's obsession with Keller has become something devious, something requiring the flexing of his brain power over his libido, the triumph of the intellect over instinct. He plots, he schemes, gives his brain muscle a work out, becoming hard on the inside as well as the out.

Not that there isn't an animal pleasure in his revenge scenarios: he imagines himself, legs straddled each side of Keller's thighs while Keller lies on his stomach, ass bare and exposed in the grey prison light. His hands are tied to the bunk frame, balled into fists as Toby presses a hot pen against his butt cheek, burns his name into Keller's flesh.

Giving some consideration to poetic justice he thinks he should probably get the Aryans to kill Keller. But the ease with which that objective could be met is really beneath him. The intellectualisation of his revenge doesn't allow for simplicity.

There are other options of course: there's the Italians or the Hispanics or the homeboys and it wouldn't take much to set any of them on the warpath. Whisper in an ear or two and let the rumour mill work its magic. The beauty of it unfolds in front of him like chess pieces moving on the board in the deft hands of Karpov, like it did when Schillinger tried to pay Wittlesy to have him killed. Nothing in Oz has given him as much pleasure as outsmarting them, as proving to himself what everyone else knows, that he's not like them.

Nothing save perhaps a whimsical moment indulged after the high of seeing his children again. Even now he wonders whether he was just lonely or horny. Or both.

It was never real, never about anything real.

But there's something real about imagining Keller pinned beneath him or against the wall, something less about revenge and more about need. He imprisons him in a way the walls of Oz never can, forces him to do his bidding by sheer power of the knowledge that Toby will always get him in the end. With this realisation he forces Keller to the bed, makes him beg for mercy as he binds his hands and feet and eventually gags him to shut him up. He leaves him naked and helpless, unable to do anything but stare wide-eyed at Toby as he hovers over him and tells him he is going to fuck him until he loses consciousness.

And he does. In defiance of his better angels, he does. He can see it in detail, smell the mix of sweat and semen, hear Keller moaning through the gag saying something that sounds like, "Fuckjesusfucktoby..." and feel his own arousal reaching breaking point.

Only it never gets there because his arms are in casts and its because of Keller he can't even enjoy a wank at his expense.

It doesn't mean anything, he tells himself. None of it means anything and he's still the fifteen year old kid looking at nude pictures of men and wondering how the fuck it is that something as simple as attraction can be so confusing. One day he'll kick that fifteen year old kid in the balls and remind him that sex is irrelevant and he should stay the fuck away from sex and alcohol if he really wants to make it in this world.

He wonders if it will make a difference.

Stupid kid.


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