Chris stretched out on the bed he'd long since outgrown. His feet hit the endpost, but he hardly noticed. It was routine now- he hadn't laid down and *not* hit the bedpost in years.
For some odd reason, his thoughts drifted to Gordie, who was going on a date with his girlfriend tonight. Gordie didn't belong with Anne, he thought to himself, though he had no reasoning as to why.
In Chris's mind, no one ever belonged with Gordie. Until now, he hadn't realized it, but Sue, Kristen, Justine, Cara. . . all wrong for him.

Why did he care? Normal boys didn't think this way about their best friends. . .
A floating head in his window interrupted his thoughts.
"Aaaah!"
"Christ, Chris, it's just me!"
"Gordie, knock on the fucking door next time!"
"Lemme in, dammit!" It had not yet occurred to him that Gordie was hanging out of his second story bedroom window, unaided except for the trellis climbing up the side of the house. Chris jumped up from the bed and to the window in surprise.
"Sorry, man," he mumbled as the littler boy tumbled headfirst into his bedroom headfirst with a small "Oomph."
"God, what are you, French?"
"Gordie, what the-"
"Hey, how do I look?" Gordie cut in, sweeping his hair across his forehead in what he obviously thought was a very sexy gesture. Chris, however, noticing that it looked rather like a penguin, couldn't do anything but giggle.
"Gordie, don't you have some Protestant to screw?" Gordie glared. "Besides, why the hell are you over here asking me if you look good? Look in a mirror!"
"Well, my mirror broke, and-"
Chris snickered.
"Shut up, not like that, asshole. I *dropped* it."
Waiting for him to finish, Chris crossed his arms expectantly. Gordie sighed.
"Curling my hair."
"I KNEW it!" Chris laughed triumphantly.
"you've always been a hermaphrodite, Chambers."
"Fuck off." But Chris was grinning as he scooted over to make room on his bed. Gordie flopped down.
"So, Lachance," Chris said, looking at him sideways through slitted eyes, "what happened? I thought you and Anne had a date tonight."
Gordie sighed. "Anne and I broke up," he muttered, eyes downcast, and Chris's heart leapt.

"That's rough, man," Chris commented mildly. If only I cared.

"Yeah, it sucks," Gordie agreed, but he didn't seem that interested.

"Well we seem crushed," Chris admonished. "Come on, Lachance." He stood up.

"Where are we going?"

"Teddy's. I was gonna head over there anyway, to play poker, but then you showed up- if I get too hard up, I'll bet you."

"Teddy wouldn't want me anyway."

"No one wants you, Lachance. And Teddy might want you more than you'd think."

"Ha. Teddy wants my ass."

"Yup." Chris sighed. "Teddy wants everyone's ass."

"Especially mine."

"Especially yours."

Why are we talking about his ass? Chris couldn't help but wonder to himself as they headed downstairs, tossing a quick goodbye to his mother, who didn't really seem to care that there were two boys in her house instead of one.

"Where's Eyeball?" Gordie asked as they walked down the driveway, kicking rocks. "Isn't he like related to you or something?"

"No, asshole, he's a tea party friend of my mothers."

"Well then where is he?"

"Out. With Ace. And a girl."

"Protestant?"

"You know it."

The rest of the walk to Teddy's was quiet. They passed a few friends, but no words were said. Gordie somehow managed to kick the exact same pop can all the way to his friend's house.

They knocked on the door of a shack that seemed to be falling in on itself. Teddy's house had never been known for it's wonderful upkeep.

To their shock, instead of their buddy answering, a blonde came to the door, looking a little... disheveled. A few seconds later, a dazed Teddy followed.

"I'm having company," he announced smugly to Chris and Gordie, then laughed hysterically at the well-endowed girl in his doorway. He winked exaggeratedly.

"Uh, Teddy? We... uh... if you're ... um, busy, we can come back..."

"Nah, it's good," Teddy said, with a flick of his hand. He turned to the girl. "Go home."

"What the hell?"

"Go home."

Chris looked at Teddy. "Moron. Never order a hooker around."

"Why?"

"They carry guns." Gordie nodded fervently beside him.

"Do you carry a gun?" Teddy asked the hooker matter-of-factly. She shook her head.

"Hah. Go home." The third time seemed to be the charm, as the hooker sent him a look of daggers and flounced down his driveway.

"How the hell did you afford a hooker?"

"I hocked my mom's wedding ring."

"Great."

Teddy led them inside and they all sat around a small, musty old table. Teddy got the cards, always in the same place, quickly, and he set them down on the table beside the chips that Gordie had brought.

They played a few quick games, but the conversation that took place after the abundant amounts of whiskey had been passed around was much more interesting than any of the games.

"Chris, would you screw a guy if you got paid a hundred dollars?"

"Hell yeah."

"Seriously?" Teddy frowned, homophobe that he was.

"Uh, yeah- you wouldn't for a hundred bucks?"

Teddy shook his head violently.

"You? I thought you would screw anything with legs, Duchamp!"

"Anything with legs and a chest," Teddy corrected.

"I have a chest," a proud, drunk Gordie announced, throwing a small, thin chest out for everyone to appreciate.

"Congratulations, Gord," Chris slurred, and winked strongly at Teddy.

Teddy looked at Gordie and amended, "Anything with legs, a chest, and a-"

"Okay, Teddy."

Drunk Gordie mumbled something incoherent about Teddy screwing up the ass.

"If there's anyone here who doesn't screw up the ass it's me," Teddy corrected sternly. "You two probably screw up the ass."

Chris leaned over to Gordie. "Do you screw up the ass, Gordie?" he asked romantically. Gordie nodded and smiled drunkenly.

"I like beer."

"That's great, Gordie."

"No, I mean, I really like beer."

"Good for you. No one cares."

"I care," Teddy stated empathetically and slapped another twelve pack onto the table.

"Christ, Teddy, for someone with no money, you make out like a fucking bandit."

"I know," Teddy said proudly. "Girls love me and my making out skills."

"Boys love mine," Chris said, a little too seriously.

The other two turned and stared at him deeply enough to make him squirm under their harsh, searching eyes.

"You're serious, aren't you?" Teddy said finally, drunk as hell but threatening still the same.

"I might be," Chris said, taking another swig of beer from his can avoiding his friend's eyes. "And even if I am, you two know you want my ass."

"So you would be on the bottom."

"Aaah!" Teddy choked on his beer and spit it back out. "I don't want to think about Chris being on the bottom.

"So you don't mind thinking about him being on the top?"

Chris laughed. "He *fantasizes* about me being on the top."

Teddy grunted something that resembled a negative. "I think it might be time for you two to leave," he muttered under his breath.

"You're kicking us out?" Chris asked, incredulously. "It comes out that you fantasize about me being on top, and all you can do is kick us out?"

Teddy muttered something and dragged the smaller Gordie to the door. "I'm kicking your bitch out, Chambers," he announced to the general vicinity of the kitchen. "Follow him."

Gordie mumbled drunkenly and cradled a throbbing headache, waiting for Chris, who headed out the front door and put an arm under the extremely drunk Gordie, who was by now staggering everywhere.

"Bye, girls who fuck up the ass," Teddy said sweetly from inside the house.

"Fuck off, Duchamp."

"Get off my lawn."

Gordie giggled; it was high-pitched and Chris and Teddy would have been embarrassed to have it pass their lips.

"Gordie, man, you okay? You're acting... um... gayer than normal."

"I'm drunk, you moron!"

"Well, yeah, but..."

Making a decision based on his father and Gordie's, Chris decided that the best place to lie his stone drunk best friend down for the night might not be at his house. So, making a mental note to telephone the Lachance's house in the morning, he headed for the tree house.

"The flowers are pretty," Gordie noted, because Chris was by now dragging him feet first, giving him a great view from the ground.

"They're lovely," Chris grumbled, straining to move the deceptively small but incredibly, it seemed, overweight Gordie to the tree house.

"Oh, fuck," Chris said under his breath as he looked up the ladder. "Gordie, if you think for one second I'm going to lift you up the ladder..."

"I can climb, Chris," Gordie said floatily, getting to his feet and promptly falling down. "Ow, dammit, ow."

"Yes, ow. Now get up and climb."

Gordie kicked his friend from the ground and used a rung of the ladder to pull himself up. "Check this out."

Chris groaned and raised an eyebrow. "What?"

"I can do the worm on a ladder." Gordie pulled himself up, rung by rung.

"Gordie, you asshole, you look like you're humping the ladder. You ladderfucker."

Gordie ripped his shirt off and swung it around over his head, climbing all the while as he yelled "Ladder fornication!" into the night.

Chris sighed and buried his head in his hands. "Gordie, need I remind you that I'm looking at your ass as you do this. . . ?"

"Oh yeah, you're the gay one, aren't you?" When Chris paused, Gordie laughed and crowed "Oh! Hit below the bra strap! What now, Chambers?"

With a strange, warlike shriek, Chris climbed the ladder with almost superhuman speed and shoved Gordie up into the tree house.

"You sleep under the milk crate," he directed. "I'll get the cot."

"I ALWAYS have to sleep under the milk crate."

"You fit under it. I don't."

"My balls need the room."

"You have no balls."

"Oh. Ouch. Original, Chambers," he said sarcastically as he disappeared underneath the milk crate.

He was silent for a long time, and Chris was convinced that he was asleep, until Gordie's voice pierced the silence.

"I hate the milk carton."

"Good night, Gordie."

"Like, I really hate the milk carton."

"Good night, Gordie."

End of Chapter One