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Responsibilities of Being a Man

by J. C. G. Goelz

Table of Contents
Table of Contents
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I saw him out of the corner of my eye. He had a raging hard-on, although it didn’t seem very large. He must have thought I’d gone crazy, because I kicked out my legs as far from the pole as I could. I had seen my pants lying there; I snagged them and slid them back to me.

Sterling dove down to try to take them from me, but I’d already shoved my hand in the pocket. I had something else made of titanium: my pocket knife, the one I’d used to cut my father loose from the auger.

He saw I had the knife when I pulled my hand out of the pocket, and he tried to take it from me. I almost dropped it when I opened the blade, which was hard to do with my wrists taped together, and I slashed it at Sterling. I wasn’t really aiming, but the blade was sharp. and I cut his penis half off. Blood spurted out, and he dropped to his knees, screaming bloody murder.

Of course, this got everyone else alert. Hathcock slid off April, and Griffin and Bartholomew dropped their drinks and moved towards me. April rolled the chaise on its side, and yanked the loops of tape off the legs.

I cut my tape, and ran to Jimmy to free him. Hathcock got up to us, but Jimmy saw the rod on the floor, picked it up and swung for the fences. Hathcock’s face exploded in a shower of blood and bone.

Griffin and Bartholomew saw Jimmy had the rod. They ran to the stairs, and Jimmy followed them. Things were very confused, but April was free, and she took the knife from me.

Griffin started running up the stairs, but Bartholomew tried to get past him. Jimmy threw the rod at them. It helicoptered and struck Bartholomew in the back of his knees. He started falling, but he grabbed Griffin by the collar, and they both tumbled backwards down the stairs.

They were in a pile at the base of the stairs, but I heard the ringing of the titanium on the concrete floor. I picked up the rod and caved in the back of Bartholomew’s head. Griffin was limping when he got up and, for some reason, started moving back towards the middle of basement, but Jimmy tackled the fatass and started beating his forehead into the basement floor. I got there and tapped Jimmy on the shoulder. He moved away and I swung. A plume of blood and brains shot out the top of Griffin’s head.

We turned back toward April and Sterling. He was lying on his back but was trying to sit up. His penis was cut off, and he had a belly wound. Blood was pooling around his lower body.

April had his penis in her hands. She had cut it off him. She ripped a piece off of it with her teeth, and he watched it happen. I told you she could be vindictive. When he stopped breathing, she shoved his penis into his mouth.

Then she picked up the knife and walked to Bobby’s body. She said, “Hathcock? Halfcock?” Then she cut his penis off: “No cock!” and dropped it on the floor. She was laughing and crying at the same time.

Obviously, Sterling’s family was gone for the night, but we still didn’t have much time. I don’t know if Sterling had been trying to scare us with the plan to leave us on the railroad track, but we decided to use his idea. We found a tarp and lined Sterling’s truck with it; then we put in the corpses.

April had the idea to shove the severed cocks up the asses of the guys that still had a penis. Then, when we got to the railroad track, we laid the guys with two penises lengthwise, on the track, and placed the corresponding guy, sans penis, on top of the other guy. That way, after the train came through, an investigator might think the train wheels cut off the penis while it was inside the other guy. Hell, there would be parts all over the place anyway.

We left Sterling’s truck near the train tracks, took the tarp, and walked back to Sterling’s house. April had been cleaning up the basement, and I’ll give it to her: she was so obsessive-compulsive that she would have made one hell of a maid. I suspected there might still be a speck of blood or two, and there was definitely other DNA evidence ground into the chaise, but there was no reason to think that the basement was a crime scene. There were empty alcohol containers and drugs, including the Viagra and a half-used tube of lube. We left the sound system blaring; folks would assume the boys had been partying and bad things had happened.

We walked home without saying a word to each other but, when we were about a mile from home, we heard a train whistle. We all smiled, but none of us laughed.

April and Jimmy walked back with their arms hooked at the elbows, and April leaned against him and rested her head on his shoulder. They looked like some old married couples I had seen, shambling around together in the park, not talking, but you knew they shared something.

The story we told our parents was that Sterling and the boys abducted us and left us in the middle of the forest as a prank, and we got hurt trying to walk through the woods in the dark. Our parents never made us share the story, considering Sterling’s demise, news of which spread faster than wildfire. I think everyone was aware of the players’ deaths by nine o’clock Sunday morning.

* * *

The newspaper never gave many details about the train accident, so I don’t know what was in the official report. I do know we had crisis counselors come to school, and they talked about suicide prevention, particularly concerning the stress of being closeted gays.

* * *

We lost the next game; Jimmy threw three interceptions. But we won the last three games, got into the state tournament, and won it all.

* * *

Epilogue, October 2027.

I wrote that all down on yellow legal pads within seventy-two hours of the event in 2002, except the two postscripts. I never looked at it again for twenty-five years, but was drawn to it after Jimmy’s death.

I typed it up, fixed the spelling and the worst of the punctuation errors (I always had trouble writing “it’s” when it should have been “its”, and confusing “lay” and “lie” and, to this day, I have to check every manuscript I write.) The first thing I published had twenty-three instances of that “it’s” mistake. I wonder why the editor accepted it. When it came back, it was covered with corrections in green ink.

I decided to add a little denouement, given the privilege of time.

If you google “gay suicide pact railroad” you may see something about having sex on a railroad track. I don’t know how the details of the accident became public, but there were three apparent copycat instances in the next twelve years.

The team wasn’t that good our junior year, although I was the starting fullback, weighing in at one-forty-two. Jimmy brought us the championship again as a senior, and he did go to Stanford. I had nine sacks as a senior linebacker, but I wasn’t big enough or quick enough to play anywhere but at the lowest levels of college football, so I didn’t even try.

April and Jimmy became a couple immediately after the incident, but it was a slow transition. Jimmy would come over to visit me but ended up spending more time with April. They were a weird couple at first. They would hold hands and sit together, April leaning against Jimmy, and they would hardly say a word.

Eventually they came out of their gloom, and they came out of it together. They became a happy couple, though quiet, like they were always sharing an unspoken joke, and a secret.

I don’t think they became physically intimate until after April graduated; they didn’t need to, they had enough intimacy. She went to the University of Wyoming for a year, but followed him to Stanford, although she went to San Jose State after waiting a year to become a resident. They married when Jimmy was a junior, and had their first child, Becky, two months after April graduated with a nursing degree.

Jimmy was drafted in the second round, even though he came in third, then fourth for the Heisman Trophy his junior and senior years. He was six-one, slightly small for an NFL quarterback, and his arm strength wasn’t elite.

Getting drafted in the second round almost assured him of an NFL career, but he didn’t even try to negotiate a contract. He went to medical school. Jimmy didn’t become a “freaking Charles Darwin.” Instead, he became a freaking Albert Schweitzer. If there was a country that had recently received the adjective “war-torn,” you can bet Jimmy was there, either raising support or establishing a medical mission. If the infrastructure was still there, he found resources or staff; if there was nothing more than a pile of rubble, he raised a building.

April worked with him, when she could, but they had Joseph and Emily before Jimmy really got his missionary work started, and so she stayed stateside, managing the business end of Jimmy’s work and his household.

Then we lost him.

He was in a village in Afghanistan; that place is still a hell-hole. The bad guys wanted to take it back and erase all Western influence that had come in over the last twenty-some years. They shot everyone in the hospital and burned it to the ground. Jimmy was nominated posthumously for the Nobel Peace Prize, but the rumor is that they disqualified him because security forces had found a gun on his body, and he appeared to have killed seven of the terrorists. I’m sure he was trying to defend his people in the hospital. It’s what men do: you defend the weak or vulnerable, and those for whom you are responsible.

I was suspended four times in high school. Three times for fighting, which is usually grounds for permanent expulsion. When they were about to kick me out, Jimmy rounded up the guys I had fought and made them admit they were doing something that deserved getting their ass kicked, and Mr. Edwards, the principal, petitioned the district superintendent for an exception, which I received.

I was also suspended for writing and disseminating a tract I called, “Responsibilities of Being a Man,” some of the ideas coming from this work. Mr. Edwards said he didn’t disagree with my paper in principle but had to discourage a work that suggested that force, even lethal force, was an acceptable response in some situations.

I’ll reproduce the last words of my epistle:

“There are a whole lot of men alive today that would be killed in a more enlightened society. They’d be killed by the fathers and brothers and male friends of the people they hurt. The strong got to defend the weak. That’s what men do.”

I earned one hundred and eighty credits from five different universities, but no degree. I spent two tours with the Marines as a sniper, but I didn’t like it much. I didn’t know the people I was firing at.

I came home after my dad lost his left foot to that same damn auger. I’ve been running the farm, and managing the Timmons’ farm, too, for the last ten years.

I write when I get the chance, and I’ve published five novels under three different pen names, with a different name for each genre. They all include a bloody death scene or two. My total sales are over thirty thousand so far. You can even find a Kindle version of “Responsibilities of Being a Man.” It’s the only thing I’ve published under my own name. If you are interested, wait until you can get it for free. Amazon often does specials, and you can save yourself ninety-nine cents. I’ve kept it in the public domain; you can make copies to send to any young men you know.

I brought in a trailer next to my parents’ house. I check in with them for a few minutes every day, to make sure everything is OK. Otherwise, I keep to myself, unless April and her kids are visiting. I like it that way. I still have that titanium rod. I feel safer when I have it in my hand.

Copyright © 2019 by J. C. G. Goelz

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