Roll Call
by Ricky


Chapter 11

“Driver, take me to McKenzie High School. I need to get my car and see what they’ve done to my school.”

“Your school? Funny, but being a tax payer, I thought it was mine.”

“I was speaking figuratively. I am the principal there, so naturally, I consider it my school.”

“Yeah well, we’ll be there in about fifteen minutes. You been on vacation or something? I thought you guys all took vacation during the summer like the rest of us. Our tax dollars at work.”

“Yes, I have been on a total holiday. That’s why I am so anxious to get back. Can you drive any faster?”

“Sure I can lady, but you see, I’m a product of the public school system and although I don’t do so well with the big words, I have no problem with the little ones, like ‘speed limit’, if you get my drift. You ain’t paying for no speedin’ tickets.”



“Aren’t paying for speeding tickets. You said ‘ain’t’.”

“Aren’t, ain’t. What’s the difference? You ain’t paying it, is you?”

“The difference is about a hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars a year.”

“You make that kinda money and you ain’t paying the speeding tickets? Lady, I may be a cab driver, but I’m smart enough to know that you ain’t getting there any faster than traffic allows. In fact, I may end up hittin’ every freaking red light in town on the way. I’m chancing it here a bit, but I’ll bet you don’t tip worth a fuck either . . . Jesus, I get all the nut balls.”

“Look, just get me to the school sometime today. I’ll give you a five dollar tip if you just promise not to speak to me anymore on the way!”

“That much? Hey, if I pick up another one just like you, I can get a freaking cup of coffee. Oh look at that, tough break, imagine a city bus breaking down right in the middle of a turn like that. Shit, that may tie traffic up for hours. Looks like you’re stuck here for a bit. Shit, if it was a bit nicer neighborhood, you could probably walk there faster. But I don’t suppose you brought a gun with you, did you? Hey, that hooker is waving at you. You two know each other?”


“Hey Charlene, I’m gonna run this over to McKenzie High so I can meet Principal Petrie in person. I was just going to have a messenger run it over, but I think I would rather make sure she gets the message across to the staff with the proper authority. Can you cancel all my meetings for this afternoon?”

“Certainly, Dr Peticone. Would you like me to call the school and make sure they know you are coming?”

“No, that isn’t necessary. I spoke with Ellie just a few minutes ago.”

Charlene smiled, “Ellie?”

“Uh, yes,” he grinned. “Ellie Petrie, err, Principal Petrie.”


“Hey Connor. Right on time. Come with me.”

“Hi Coach, no problem. So, who am I telling Phil’s story to?”

“I’ll tell you on the way. We have an assembly this afternoon and I’m in charge. Can you walk a little faster, we are meeting some people.”

“Sure, but I don’t really get it. I mean, I’ve already spoken to the guys in our class that would make a difference. Why are we going to the gym?”

“That’s where the assembly is and yeah, I know and it really made a difference. So that’s why I want you to tell the rest of the school at this assembly. Have you met my son? Paul, this is Connor, he’s going to tell a little about his brother. Connor, this is my son Paul and his partner Ken. Hi Ken, thanks for coming. And these two ladies are . . .”

“Connie and Maureen,” Paul said as Coach Johnston extended his hand to shake Connie’s.

“Thanks for coming. So, do you know what you want to say?”

“Yeah, we think we have a handle on it. We are going to do a little play acting. I might have a couple other friends stop in if they can get the time.” Paul looked at Connor. “If it is alright Connor, could you present last because we want to surprise them and your story might tip our hand.”

“Uh, yeah, no problem.” He turned to look at the coach. “I didn’t know I was going to be telling the whole school. I mean, uh, you know some of them may not understand. They may think that, um, you know, um, that I’m gay and I’m not.”

“So tell them that you’re not. Look, I know this is asking a lot. It’s up to you. You don’t have to say anything to anyone if it’s not right for you. Just hang out here in the wings and when it’s your time, you can just nod or shake your head. We’ll play it by ear. But I think it would make a real difference.”

“Hi Coach Russel, one of these handsome gentlemen must be your son.”

“Hi, Ms Petrie. Yes, this is my son, Paul.”

Paul stepped forward extending his hand, “I’m Paul and this is Ken, Connie and Maureen. I guess you know Connor.”

“Yes, hello Connor. Are you presenting something here today too?”

“I think so. The coach asked me to say a few words.”

“Well great, I can’t wait to hear it all. And Coach, I’ll introduce the program if that is alright. I have a few announcements of my own to make.”

“No, that would be fine. I wasn’t sure how we were going to start this anyways.”

“Ms. Petrie, could we speak for a moment about the introductions?” Paul asked, placing his finger tips gently on her shoulder to get her attention. The kids filing into the gym was beginning to take on a louder roar.

“Well, let’s get this show on the road, shall we? If we are going to try and keep this down to an hour we better get moving.” Ms Petrie stepped out onto the stage and up to the podium. Leaning into it she started to speak. The microphone was dead. She fiddled with the microphone looking for the switch when it started to work. Glancing up, she saw a very serious faced student standing at the sound board. She smiled with understanding. He didn’t see her walk up to the podium and he has now made the microphone live. “May I have your attention please? May I ask you to quiet down and find seats if you haven’t already done so.” The microphone squealed loudly as he tried to make it louder.

“Please find your seats. Thank you. I am Ellie Petrie and I have a surprise for you all today. We have some guest speakers who will talk to you about what life is like in college. Now, I got a surprise today, I got a promotion! I am officially, as of today, your new principal. Isn’t that great?”

The coach started clapping and the auditorium joined in. “Mrs. McAlister has decided to take on the less strenuous position of Vice Principal and to be a mentor to me since I’m rather new at this, so she should be back in the next few days.

“Now, without further ado, let me introduce Paul and Connie and Ken and Maureen. I’ll turn the microphone over to Paul first.”

“McKenzie Bulldogs! Ruff! Ruff!” The auditorium erupted in growls, hoots and whistles. “It seems like just a few days ago, I was sitting in one of those chairs where you are now. I graduated from McKenzie just a year ago. So much has changed in my life since then. I’ll get to that in a minute. First, can you imagine, going to school and having a parent as one of your teachers? They know every time you step out of line. And all that stuff you do that your parents never find out about? Well, mine knew, because my dad ate lunch with all my other teachers. So he knew the instant I stepped out of line.” He turned and looked in the wings and motioned for his dad to come out. As he did, Paul pointed with an open hand at his father. “This is my dad and let me tell you something, he is the greatest dad anyone could ever ask for. I love him and I’m proud to tell the world he is my father.” He applauded and the auditorium clapped with him as the coach stepped up and hugged Paul and with an arm still around his waist he leaned into the microphone.

“And I have a few stories I can tell you about Paul . . .”

But Paul cut him off, grinning. “Thanks dad. They’d love to hear it, but Oh! Hey! Look at the time, maybe some other time okay? You can go away now pop, thanks.” And the place erupted in laughter again as the coach waved and walked off into the wings again.

“So, why are we here?” Paul began. “Well, my dad thought that you should know a little bit about life after high school and he wanted me to share a secret with you. And I will, but not yet. First, I go to Caldova University and since it is my first year, I’m not sure what I want to do, but I am sure it has nothing to do with burgers or handing food to people through little windows.”

Connie walked up and put her arm around Paul’s waist. He took the signal and stepped back as Connie leaned into the microphone and spoke. “Like Paul, I was sitting in a classroom in a high school a long ways from here. I was an average girl, certainly not one of the ‘pretty people,'” she said, using two fingers of each hand to make the quote signs beside her head.

“I used to sit and wonder if it would ever be my time, a time when I could feel good about me, about my life. There were times when I felt completely alone in a room full of people. I didn’t have a lot of friends. In fact, damn few. But that was fine with me. I sorta liked it in the background. It was safe. Nobody would look too closely at me as long as I kept under the radar.” Ken walked up and placed an arm around Connie’s shoulder. He leaned in and gave her a small kiss on the cheek. She stepped back and he forward.

“Hi, I’m Ken. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after high school either, but I have since decided that I want to major in communications. I want to produce videos. I’m working towards that goal now. But a year ago, I was too worried about some jock stuffing my head in a toilet somewhere. I lived in fear almost every day. I hated high school and I couldn’t wait for it to end. When it did, I couldn’t believe the difference. College was so cool. I didn’t have to fit into any cliché, nobody was standing over my shoulder saying hurry up or you’ll be late. They don’t even take attendance in college. You are graded however, but on what you do, and not who you are. I have found the love of my life in college. One I never thought I would find.” Maureen came up to the podium and placed her arm around Ken and he looked at her as she gave him a gentle hug and a kiss.

Maureen held onto Ken as she spoke into the microphone. “If you are holding your breath everyday to get through your day then just keep doing it. You are going to make it. You will find out that all the stupid crap in high school ends with graduation. And then you can be free to be whoever you want to be. You’ll find friends just like you everywhere.” The door to the gym opened and a policeman, an ambulance driver, a fireman and some guy in a suit walked up to the stage.

“Are we late?” the cop asked as he walked up on stage.

Maureen smiled and said, “Not at all. Come on up, all of you.” Maureen looked out over the totally confused audience. The other three came to the front and shook hands with the new-comers.


“Oh, just please pull over here and let me out. I can’t believe it took you that long to make a fifteen minute trip!”

“Yeah, me either. Seems like a lifetime. And hey! How was I supposed to know you spent the night in the slammer with a hooker? Sheesh! Does this mean I don’t get no tip?”

“You don’t get ANY tip.”

“Cheap bitch!”

“Well, I never!”

“Maybe that’s the problem! You never and maybe you shoulda! Christ, now it’s too late. What’s an old prune like you gonna do? You couldn’t get yourself laid in a men’s prison with a pocket full of pardons!”

“Here, take your money. I hope I never have to see you again.”

“Yeah, well, you are off my Christmas card list too lady.”

“Oh, the sooner I get back to my office, everything will begin to return to normal,” she muttered to herself as she made her way to the office. “Hello everyone . . . Denise where is everyone?”

“Mrs. McAllister! Welcome back. Everyone is down in the gymnasium for an assembly.”

“Assembly? I don’t recall any scheduled assembly. Who called it? Who approved it?”

“Ms Petrie did. She said she had some announcements to make. It should almost be over.”

“Well, we’ll see about this. I don’t think she gets it yet. She is incapable of making those judgment calls. I don’t know who she thinks she is,” she snarled as she stormed out of the office and down towards the gym.


“Hello, perhaps you could direct me to where I can find Ellie Petrie please?”

“Oh, yes sir. Is she expecting you?”

“Yes, I just have some papers for her to sign.”

“Well visitors must sign in.”

“Of course, silly me.”

“She is in the gym at assembly. You’ll need to wear this visitors badge and just follow the signs down the hall to your right. Please remember to return the badge before you leave the property.”

“Thank you.”


Maureen returned to the microphone. “Would each of you state your name and occupation?”

“Hi! My name is Mark Bently. I’m an officer in the city police.”

“My name is Carl Nogel. I’m a fireman first class for the Charleston Fire Department.”

“Hi, I’m Jim Halburt and I drive ambulance for Rural Metro Ambulance Service.”

“My name is Scott Vanderhorn, and I’m a stock broker for Sachs.”

“Okay, so now the quiz. One of the people on this stage is my lover. Guess which one.” Yelling started from one, then everyone yelled at once.

“Okay! Okay! We’ll never solve it this way. Connie, could you help me? Would you go down the line and hold your hand above each one of the guy’s heads. As she does that, you the audience, clap your hands to vote on which one you think is my lover.”

Connie stopped in front of each one and the audience started voting, the stock broker getting the major applause. Maureen waited until all had been graded by the audience. “Alright, now the truth shall set you free.” She walked down to the end and looked at Ken, then Paul. She paused in front of each, the stock broker being the last as the place erupted in screams until she reached over and pulled Connie into her arms and kissed her passionately. The audience went quiet at first, then applause started in the back and a few more joined in.

Paul looked at Kevin and took him in his arms and kissed him, as did the fireman and the stock broker and the policeman and the ambulance driver. The audience went wild as the door opened and Mrs. McAllister walked in.

“What in heaven’s name is going on here?” The room went silent.

“Kissing,” came the answer from Maureen. “Have you never seen it? Who’s the old crow?” she asked, looking around.

“The ‘Old Crow’ as you put it, is the ‘vice’ principal of this school. I am the superintendent, and I think it may be better to ask, why there are so many kissing people on one of my stages?”

Ms Petrie walked out on stage and up to the microphone. “Because I invited them. They have been asked to talk to the students about tolerance, that there is life after high school.”

“More precisely, Dr. Peticone, it is because I asked my son and his partner to come and speak to the kids,” Coach Russell spoke up.

“No,” came a voice from the wings and Conrad walked out and up to the podium. “It’s because I wanted to tell the school about my brother and why he . . .” Conrad choked on his words as his eyes filled. “And why he took his own life about a year and a half ago. You see, my brother, Phillip Diaz, was gay and in the closet. He loved a boy so deeply that when he was injured and had to have his leg removed, Phillip went to the hospital to be near the boy he loved. That boy did not know that Phillip loved him. But while he was there, he was seen and he was seen crying, looking in the boy’s room after his surgery. He knew that when he came back to school, he was going to face a school that knew he was in love with another boy. He knew that word would get back to mom and dad, and . . . me. He was afraid and ashamed to be in love.

“I’ve thought about that a lot. Imagine, being so in love that it hurts. Imagine, being so in love and yet feel it sinful to even tell the person. Imagine, being alone inside that mind and loving so fiercely that you are willing to chance being discovered, just to know he will take another breath, even though he will still be out of your reach. And I have to tell you that I cannot even imagine it. The hurt, the pain, the loneliness he must have felt. So much so, that he went home and wrote a letter of apology to mom, dad and me. Then, he took a bunch of sleeping pills and washed them down with booze in coke.

“I went in to wake Phil for breakfast and found him. I tried to wake him. I shook him and he wouldn’t wake up.” The tears rolled freely down his face.  “These fine people are here to tell you that if you are gay, or not sure, or even if you are straight, life after high school grows up a lot. So just live through high school. And know what pain you leave the family and friends in if you decide to check out early. We have gay kids here in school, some out, some not. Look at these people on the stage. They come from all kinds of jobs, all walks of life. Some even save lives. Think about this if you are against gays and you find out someone around you is. If it was your brother or sister or best friend or a friends little brother or sister, is your hate or bias enough that you would want to see a friend go through the pain of loss? Does it really matter who they sleep with, will it change your life if they kiss another boy or a girl kisses another girl? Is your life any worse off by any of these people on the stage? That’s all I have to say, except that I am straight and I really wish I could have my baby brother back. For me, gay is okay. Thank you.”

The audience was silent until Dr. Peticone started clapping. Before long the entire audience was clapping and stomping their feet on the bleachers. As Conrad came down the steps and walked to the back of the auditorium he saw Jan and stopped. “You didn’t know did you?”

Jan stood up, “It was me? Your brother was in love with me?”

“Yeah, and funny you two should be standing here together, because you have his gym locker. That’s why I stuck up for you. I took it as a kind of sign.”

Elliot’s eyes filled with tears, “It’s worse than you thought,” he said.

“Why is that?” Conrad asked.

Elliot looked at Jan for permission and Jan answered for him, “Because, I’m gay. Elliot is my boyfriend. Had I known, things might have been different today. I’m sorry.” Conrad’s eyes filled as he smiled a weak smile and left. Elliot took Jan in his arms and kissed him passionately on the lips as hoot and hollers broke out all over the gym.

The bell rang and everyone went to their last period class.


“Hi coach. I’m Karen, Elliot’s mom.”

“Hello Ms Glicksman, I’m so glad you could make it. Hold on a second.” The coach cupped his hands over his mouth and yelled to Coach Johnston, “Coach, can you get them started drilling and Elliot is going to start the game Thursday as we discussed earlier. I think he needs to just stand there and practice blind kicks into the net, then maybe with a goalie. Just get the entire team working with him.” He turned back to Karen, “Come on, let’s go sit on the bleachers.” As they walked to the far end of the bleachers so their conversation would remain private, he described the day’s events and the policies he has instilled in this class. Karen smiled when he told her of his “bone up and make them nervous” policies.

“I never knew it was that way with boys. I mean, girls aren’t really that way. I mean, everyone wishes their boobs were bigger and the ones with really huge ones hate it because all the guys hit on them and all the girls think they are trying to steal their guys, but they don’t do the ‘hide your stuff thing’. And Elliot could really care less if he played naked and the stands were full. He just has no modesty. So tell me what this ‘Operation Tutu’ thing is and how it affects my son.”

The coach spoke and she listened and then the coach called Conrad over and he spoke with Karen. She listened. When they finished, she stood up and walked for a moment mulling over what they had said. They sat and watched her pace, then she stopped and looked at them. “I think what you are doing is fantastic and Conrad, I think Phillip would be proud. But I have to tell you that not telling him is a mistake. He may see it as something other than what it is and be hurt by it. The other possibility is that he will be so emotionally moved that he will fall apart right there on the field. I have no doubt he will be thrilled and proud to do his part. But, I think if you want it to succeed, you better tell him ahead of time so he can get his crying out of the way.”

The coach turned to Conrad, “I think she’s right. I never thought about this part. I never considered his feelings or his possible embarrassment. I mean, he is just so open about being gay I never thought it would be an issue.”

Conrad stood up and whistled really loud. All practice stopped. Conrad cupped his hands, “Elliot!”

Elliot broke from the pack of boys and wiggle-ran across the field. Conrad blushed when he turned around to find Karen smiling at him. “Cute isn’t it, the wiggle?” she said.

“Yeah, but don’t ever tell him I said so.” Conrad grinned. “I mean, if he had different equipment, he’d make a great girl.”

Karen grinned, “Not too bad, even with the equipment he’s got.”

“Yeah well, too much for my taste,” he finished up as Elliot came huffing and puffing over to them. He went over and hugged his mom and kissed her on the cheek.

“What are you doing here mom?”

“Well, the coach called me to get my opinion on something special the team has in mind for you and after talking, I told him I thought it was pretty cool, but that they should not spring it on you. So, they want to tell you about something special that a lot of people have worked on just for you.” She motioned for Conrad to continue.

“Well the thing is, once they see that you are . . . you know, gay, the other side is going to start trying to make comments. That is when ‘Operation Tutu’ comes into play.”

“Operation what?”

“Operation Tutu. You see, Martha and Priscilla did all the labor and well, the guys took up a collection for the materials and they have made the team garters, using black elastic and this frilly material, I think they said it was tulle or tool or something like that, but it’s the material they make tutus out of. The plan is to wear them under our soccer shorts. Once we are sure they know about you, then we will slip them down so that just standing there they won’t see them, but when we run, they will show at the cuff of our shorts. We think it will unnerve them so much they will lose the game because of their biases and bigotry.  Everywhere they look, they will see little tutus around the entire team’s left legs. But more than that, we do it to show them and the world that we support you for who you are and that gay’s okay with us.”

“Wow, I’m speechless. But, what if they don’t figure out that I’m gay?”

All three of them burst into laughter while Elliot put his hands on his hips and stood opened-mouthed, staring at the laughing horde. Finally, Karen spoke up. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she said, “Oh honey, that was the only sure thing they had.”

Elliot got a look on his face and turned his hand over as he pointed at his mom, “Like, I want a divorce, or can you just be sold?” But the way he did it was so feminine that the trio broke up again. Finally, he said, “Alright, I’ll do it. But do you think they have enough of the elastic and that tulle to make me a small one to go around my waist? I figure at the quarter, I can put it on and it will have even bigger impact. And I’m going to need one for my boyfriends arm. I don’t think he’ll want one for his leg. You know, drawing attention to the fact that one is shorter than the other, but one for his arm would be very cool.”

“Well, to be honest, I think they used up the last of the material making the coaches bands. And if Stan and Vince ask them to sew any more, they will have to turn gay to ever get any again.”

Elliot looked stricken as he wrinkled up his nose, “You know, some guys just wouldn’t look good gay. You know, even if they like dated each other.” Conrad looked at him and wrinkled up his nose at him and together they said, “Eeeeeeeew!”

Karen butted in, “Look, I think I can make the rest happen. Besides, I have you at home for the fitting.”


“What did you mean ‘vice’ principle, Dr. Peticone?”

“Yes, well, Mrs. McAllister, surely you can see the ramifications of your actions. We had to make some staffing adjustments.”

“So now we will have two vice principals? Who will be the principal?”

“No, we can’t afford two vice principals. No, we have decided that homosexuality is a young person’s issue that needs a young person’s perspective to try and make an impact so we have asked Ms. Petrie to be the new principal.”

“Yes, well, I am sure after today you can see the folly of that choice. She is just too young and does not have the deportment nor the education to run an institution of this magnitude. Perhaps she should spread her trash in an elementary school where her errors can be corrected in our youth before they are permanently damaged mentally.”

“Well, it’s true that I wish I had been here a little earlier to see the entire program. I think it was progressive and well done. Look, teenagers are sexual in nature and hormonal even if they aren’t yet practicing. That is evident in the way they dress and the way they dance and react with each other. High school is hormonally a mating dance that lasts four years. And we’ve ill-equipped them mentally for the dance. I think she is on the right track and this school has become the test market. So, if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. You better make up your mind which you intend to be. And if you cannot work under Ellie’s brilliance, then perhaps you should look at other options. Early retirement or the such.”

“I think I’ll go home and give it some thought tonight.”

“Fine. Call me tomorrow. Oh, I’ve had your things removed from your office and placed in the vice principals. There will be some restructuring of the duties as well so you will have less student involvement and it will be much less stressful for you. More clerical, if you know what I mean.”

“Oh, I have the picture plainly. You plan to shove me in that office and bring me out every so often and dust me off to make sure I’m still breathing.”

Dr. Peticone smiled, “I’m glad we understand each other.”


“Jeremy, I need to talk to you for a minute.”

“Hey Coach. What’s up?”

“Well, I guess you noticed that I have Elliot in your position today for practice.”

“No problem coach, the guys told me all about it, and . . .” Jeremy opened the corner of his gym bag to reveal a pink and black garter. “I’m with the team coach. I’m just worried about my dad. He is going to come unhinged. Actually, between you and me, I can’t wait to see it. Don’t get me wrong, I love soccer but it’s not my life, or at least, I don’t want it to be. It’s more my dad’s dream than mine. I mean, it would be totally cool to get on a college team or to get a scholarship or something, but it’s not what I want my tomorrows to be all about. I really want to be a chef. I love the kitchen and making really cool things to eat. It isn’t exactly the thing you will find at schools that offer soccer scholarships, you know? I haven’t seen a culinary school yet that even has a soccer team. I just don’t know how to tell him. So maybe this will just crack his brain or something. I suppose you should expect a call though. I’m not telling him that I’m not starting and coach, don’t bump anyone else so I can play. That’s not right and there are kids who really want this. You know, scouts and everything. I don’t mind sitting one out. Hey, maybe I can fake a limp or something. Tell him I twisted an ankle.”

“No don’t lie. Just put it on me. But you better think about telling him how you feel about soccer and what you want to do for a living.”

“Are you nuts!? Dad thinks only fags are cooks. Christ, if I tell him about that, then he’ll think Jess and I are . . .  you know, butt buddies or something. I can’t lose him!” A look of shock ran across Jeremy’s face, “I mean he’s my best friend, that’s all. But my dad wouldn’t let him do sleep-over’s or let us go camping together or anything. My life would be ruined.”

“Jeremy, relax.” The coach put his hand on his shoulder. “It is all about you and your own time. You know your parents better than anyone and not all parents are ready to hear everything. But I am here if you need to talk. That goes for Jess too. I’ll try and switch out tonight so you both get some play. Maybe that will help keep the wolves at bay. And hey, thanks for going along with this and supporting Elliot. It means a lot.”

“Yeah, and maybe not just him.” Jeremy said, smiling back at him as he strode away.


 “So what the hell is that?”

“Duh? It’s a tutu. What kind of a gay boy are you anyways? Want one? Mom could probably whip up two as easily as one.”

“For what?”

“The soccer game tomorrow night.” Jan’s eyes grew as large as dinner plates.

“You’re going to wear that to the soccer game?”

“Don’t be silly. Just after the first quarter.”

“Are you insane?”

“Oh, I know! Pink and black will look just awful with our soccer uniforms, but those are the colors they picked.”

“Elliot what are you talking about? The colors ‘who’ picked?”

“Well, you know, on that part, I’m not sure. It may have been one of the guys. You know, it must have been. If it was the girls, they would never have picked pink. I mean, the lavender was much better.”

“Elliot, stop! Who picked what for why?” Elliot just stared at Jan for a minute.

“Did you just end a sentence with ‘for why’?”

“Elliot you are making me insane! What is this about?”

“It’s ‘Operation Tutu’! What, do you live in a cave?”

“Operation what?”

“Didn’t we just do this? ‘Operation Tutu’.”

“Okay, explain to me exactly what ‘Operation Tutu’ is.”

“Okay, don’t have a fit. Calm yourself if you wanted to know. All you had to do is ask.”


“Right, well, Connor and the guys cooked up this scheme to get me in front of the other team and figured that somehow, magically I guess, the other side will somehow ‘guess’ that I am gay.”

Jan burst into laughter.

Elliot put his hands on his hips. His lips drew into two tiny pink lines. “Why do people keep doing that!?”

“Never mind, go on.” Jan said, recovering a little.

“So, after they find out, then the guys think they will all start making comments. That’s when ‘Operation Tutu’ will kick in. All the guys have these cute little pink and black garters on their left leg under their soccer shorts. They won’t be low enough to see unless they are running. But they think it will un-nerve them and we will win and at the same time show that the team supports gay players who wiggle when they run. So, now you want one?”

“Uh, well no. Really, I think maybe an armband will do me just fine. Elliot, you realize that after this everyone will know. You are coming out to every person in two schools. For both of us.”

Elliot froze. “Shit. I didn’t think about how this would affect you. I’m sorry. Jan, do you want me to call the guys and call it off?”

Jan thought for a moment, looking at his best friend. He smiled, “In for a penny, in for a pound.”

“What’s that mean?”

“It means, Oye, Girlly Boy, I’m with you.”

Elliot went over and straddled Jan in his chair and kissed him.

“But you’re going to have to take that thing off, it really itches.”


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