Postcards From the Ledge (and Other Extraordinary Folk): Some Men Go Just Where They Want (Story 2) ~ Part D

Ken Painter By Ken Painter, 3rd Jan 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>General Fiction

Join me in a stroll through an eclectic collection of short stories filled with gay and straight characters in the mid-Michigan communities of Lansing and East Lansing and surrounding areas as they laugh, love, and find their lives intertwined in inexplicable ways. (Some of the stories - not all - contain softcore male/male sex scenes, and some of the material contained has been previously published on Wikinut by this author and have been modified from its original form.)

One Door Closes and . . .

After the last day of school, after Gavin had closed that chapter of his life completely with the bringing of the boxes of memorabilia home which still sat untouched in a remote corner of their bedroom awaiting a further decision, that first Saturday had found the boys in a wind-down celebration of sorts out at Embers. But upon walking in they weren’t quite expecting to discover what awaited within. Hanging over the bar was draped a long, handmade yet fairly well-done banner, most likely a couple old white twin bed sheets it looked like which had been stitched together. However, somebody had put a lot of effort into this personal tribute, because they’d dyed the sheets a darker shade of green and then hand-painted the lettering on it in white. Glorious green & white for Gavin’s alma mater, Michigan State! Someone was paying attention. And the simple message? In larger lettering, Congratulations Gavin! This text was followed in the center by an 8 X 10 photo of Gavin which someone had obviously blown up from that year’s Pines Junior High Yearbook. On the right end and in slightly smaller lettering the final text read, We Love U! And then in tiny white lettering printed vertically in two columns side-by-side at the very end of the message this wonderful unknown soul or souls had actually signed it, Your Community of Friends.

When the boys saw the banner hanging there over the bar it just stopped them dead in their tracks, and upon reading it tears began running down their cheeks. Their embrace and long kiss in front of the entire establishment brought the house down with cheers, stomps, and a standing O. The feeling was generally shared that evening that changes were afoot in those parts thanks to these two men and their intestinal fortitude.

Since the frenzied circus of that night in the auditorium Gavin hadn’t mentioned a word about his future plans to Harley, and his beautiful cowboy would-be husband had wisely held off broaching the subject until at least after school was out. However, later that evening after their emotional yet unexpected celebration with old friends and many newer ones and now firmly ensconced naked once again in their love nest and with Gavin cooing comfortably in his arms, Harley felt that he was remotely safe in at least gently bringing the matter up. Sort of like he was just passing the time he asked, “You given any thought to what you want to do with your future now other than the lawsuit?”

Gavin licked Harley’s left nipple to let him know that he didn’t mind the question before he looked up at him and smiled, “Sure I have. I think about it a lot.”

“Care to fill me in?”

Gavin chuckled, “God. I’ve been holding out on you lately haven’t I?” He shook his head in silent reflection.

“It’s okay Gav,” Harley replied, and then he reached over and taking Gavin’s chin in his right palm drew them together for a sweet kiss that meant so much more than forgiveness. “You’ve had so much more on your mind than any one person needs to. But you can let me help you now. School’s out, and we go on from here.”

“Yes it is,” Gavin sighed. “Well, actually since I seem to be gaining a bit of a track record now in the music industry as a songwriter, I’d really like to write more songs full-time and without the distraction of the classroom.”

“That sounds wonderful to me, and you know I’ll fully support you in that decision, plus the royalties that we’re starting to tuck away are beginning to make up for your teacher’s salary anyway. Not all of it yet, but the more you write, who knows? But I’d like to clarify one thing,” Harley asked.


“I know you, and you love teaching.” Harley looked at his lover with concern and plowed on, “Are you absolutely certain you can give up what you love doing so very, very much to pursue this?”

Gavin heard the message loud and lovingly and leaning back into his pillows he sighed. “I’ve actually given that question a lot of thought too, so please be reassured by my answer, Luv.” Harley nodded back at him. “You’re right that I absolutely love teaching in the classroom. I think that my ratings have proved that, and it all kind of came out before the board and the community the other night in that damn meeting. Anyway, teaching anymore isn’t just about being in the classroom as I’m sure you noticed that night also. It’s committees at school, and it’s union representation although Shirley’s wonderful, but not all of them are. It’s also principals. Amanda Hein was wonderful, and but then there’s Tom Dunbar. Need I say more?” Harley was shaking his head in the negative. “And then there are the school boards and board presidents like Horace Burkhalter, and I’m not even going there except to say that the vast majority of them are not professional educators who can and often do ruin our lives if only because they pull inane stuff right out of their ass that oftentimes has more to do with their own ideology and by that I mean personal religious beliefs and nothing at all to do with public education. You following?”

“Got it.”

“Then it doesn’t stop there. We’ve still got government intervention with stuff like No Child Left Behind, and as well-intentioned as it was meant to be it’s an absolute nightmare for individual school districts to both fund and implement on a classroom-by-classroom basis.” Gavin took a deep breath and laughed which Harley was relieved to see. “So yes, Luv, I’ve thought a lot about it, and maybe it’s time for me to do songwriting for a while since that seems to be going so well at the moment. But.”

Harley smiled at the word. “Okay. I like the way you just said that word.”

Gavin grinned and went on. “But, I have thought about after writing a few more songs and I get into a more established routine with that aspect of my life, I’d like to do some professional consulting work to schools and perhaps help them with their teachers to become better teachers in their own classrooms.”

“Hot damn, Gavin!” Harley clapped his hands together though the shout wasn’t heard in Traverse City this time, merely Big Rapids. “That’s a wonderful idea! Absolutely great!”

“I thought you might like it.”

“I do, I really do!” And Harley leaned over Gavin to seal the decision with yet another kiss. “Damn. That’s just great. It really is. One more question though.”


“You planning on writing your songs from around here, or have you given any thought to up and moving operations down to the Nashville area like the RC’s did?” Harley raised his eyebrows when he shot that question over to his beloved.

“Wow!” Gavin carried a look of stunned disbelief on his face. “I’ve actually never given it any thought, Har. I mean your ranch is here, Luv. And Lucy!” Gavin’s mouth was hanging open and looked almost ready to cry.

“I know, but I’ve actually got a reason to ask,” Harley replied somewhat guiltily.

Gavin chuckled suspiciously. “Okay, now who’s holding out. C’mon, out with it?”

“Okay, but first of all you’ve gotta understand I wasn’t gonna say a thing until I knew what your plans for the future were.” Gavin nodded his ascent. “This that I’m telling you could actually benefit you, and it won’t hurt me. As for Lucy, she‘s her mother‘s girl, and though we wouldn’t see her as often we’d still have her on holidays and school vacations, and Nashville’s a short plane ride but all that can be worked out.”

“Okay, but Jesus Harley,” Gavin playfully laughed, “what are you talking about? Will you stop stalling already?”

“Okay, okay! Well, now that the RC’s have relocated to Nashville, Music City, and all of the industry that you seem to be targeting your songs for is located there, to my way of thinking it only makes sense for us to be where all the action is. Now as for the Double H, my dad has been talking about scaling back his operations at the ranch for about the past six months anyway now that he’s getting on in years, and the only reason he’s been keeping it going full tilt has been for me and Henry.” Gavin nodded that he was following so far.

“I guess what I’m trying to say that if we were to pull up stakes and move to Nashville, Dad would be more than happy to begin scaling back his operations, and Henry would just move on into the sole foreman’s role we’ve been sharing for years. And actually,” Harley shot Gavin a positively embarrassed grin at this point and blushed, “I’ve already sorta felt Henry out about the subject.”

“Really? What’d he say?”

“He said he’d miss the hell outta us, but it’d actually solve a couple of problems at the ranch. He was beginning to wonder which one of us was either gonna have to start taking a part-time job or lay off a couple of hands.”

“That bad, huh?”

“Well, you know how these things go. Prices fluctuate, and we’re in one of those cycles right now, a really long one. But anyway, we’ve said nothing to Dad yet, and a lot has depended first of all on if you wanted to move to Nashville.”

“But what would you do for work down there,” Gavin asked. “Ranching is your love, your passion.”

“Well, Gav,” Harley smiled, “they do have ranches in Tennessee you know,” and he winked at his lover about to let him in on the rest of the story, “and some pretty nice ones at that so I hear which brings me to part two of what I wanted to tell you. You’re always e-mailing with Eric of the RC’s. Well, ever since the award ceremony Todd Steffey and I have been keeping in touch once in a while for whatever reason. About a week ago he e-mailed me with this little nugget. One of the co-owners of Turnipseed, Tommy Phillips, also owns his own cattle and horse ranch up in Gallatin, and it seems his foreman just up and quit on him recently and he hasn’t been able to replace him. He was complaining about it to Todd who informed him about us, and he told Todd he would count it as a personal favor if I would fill the position sight unseen. We also can live at the ranch. He’d furnish you your own office there for songwriting, and the only additional stipulation I’m told is that Turnipseed would like first dibs on you if you ever decide to record an album.”

Gavin’s face froze in utter disbelief. He didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, scream, shit, or faint, and so he just sat there with his mouth hanging wide open and eyes staring in utter disbelief. When at long last some semblance of awareness began to return to him he turned to Harley and meekly asked, “Are you shittin’ me?”

“No Babe, I would never make anything like this up! I couldn’t do that to you.”

“But I can’t sing! I’m no singer, am I?”

“Actually Gav, you’re a pretty good singer, Todd even told me so himself,” Harley reassured him. “And with a little vocal coaching from him and Eric which they’ve both promised to give, Turnipseed has expressed an interest in testing the waters with a rising young talented songwriter such as yourself.”

“Well, I’ll be damned!”

Harley just chuckled and added, “No you won’t be damned, my love, but I’ll say this, when we stand up for ourselves one door closes and another door opens.”

“Wow,” was all Gavin could reply still letting all the shock sink in as they sealed the deal with several kisses. Eventually coming up for air Gavin asked, “Okay, where’s Gallatin?”

“North side. Not all that far out I’m told. Heard tell it’s really nice.”

“Looks like we’ll be singing a brand new song in Tennessee.”

“Ready when you are.”

“Packing starts tomorrow.” But as Gavin turned off the light on the nightstand the giggling started that night.

Down Home Country Blues

By Gavin McDermott

I’m livin’ in the city, and life ain’t very pretty
With my world turned upside down
The hustle tends to throw me, and people here who know me
Think that I’m some country clown
I’m used to country talkin’, and lately I’ve been walkin’
With a spell I just can’t lose
I’ve got a dose of them feelin’-sorry-for-myself-down-home-country-blues

I’m talkin’ to my mama, it’s like a country drama
On the instant message screen
She talks about her labors, the relatives, and neighbors,
And my friends are goin’ Green
It started me to wonder, I think I made a blunder
When I left that homegrown news
I’ve got a dose of them feelin’-sorry-for-myself-down-home-country-blues

Today it wasn’t sunny, my job ain’t worth the money
I’ll be packin’ the whole night long
I’ll leave the wintertime behind me, and summertime will find me
Singin’ a brand new song

I’m headin’ home to freedom, I really, really need ‘em
Back where I’ll kick off my shoes,
And cure a dose of them feelin’-sorry-for-myself-down-home-country-blues
I’ve got a dose of them feelin’-sorry-for-myself-down-country-home-blues

(The song remained at the #1 spot on the country charts for 3 weeks for Gavin and Eric, and yes, later that fall it was among the nominees for Best Song of the Year at the CMO Awards. There was one difference this time though. This song won making Gavin a winner and Eric a back-to-back winner. Nashville was set on its ear, and it was safe to say that now all the boys had arrived. And the move to the ranch in Gallatin? Good choice. Nice haylofts . . . )

(This concludes the story "Some Men Go Just Where They Want (Story 2)".

Link to next story "Some Men Never Go (Story 3) ~ Part A . . . Here

Link to Part A of this story "Some Men Go Just Where They Want (Story 2)" . . . Here


Country Music, Gay Community, Gay Couples, Gay Experience, Gay Lesbian And Bisexual, Gay Love, Gay Marriage, Gay Marriage Rights, Gay Men, Gay Rights, Gays, Lgbt, Lgbt Community, Short Fiction, Short Stories, Song Lyrics, Songs, Songwriter, Songwriting, Teacher, Teachers, Teaching

Meet the author

author avatar Ken Painter
Retired Chicago public school teacher. Singer, songwriter, musician, author, & opinionated old curmudgeon. Married to my husband & living in Colorado, USA. Also a father & grandfather.

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