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Swim Team Ch. 11 – Baptism

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A maroon minivan, with thousands of trips to school, competitions, and church functions etched into its chipped and peeling exterior, arrived with Michael in the driver’s seat. He was already in white-shirt-and-tie uniform, and the overhead light illuminated his welcoming smile. He opened the passenger-side door. Despite the early hour, the uncertainty ahead, I brimmed a smile in kind.

“Sorry to get you up so early,” Michael said as I slid into the seat and buckled my belt.

“It’s fine, uh, don’t worry about it,” I said, even though sleep hung heavy in my head, vision blurred, eyelids sticky.

“People stare,” he started. I looked at him. He gripped the wheel. A smile lingered with practiced ease. “When you don’t wear certain things at my church.”

Who was this guy? At swim, he never spoke, scarcely looked at me, anyone. Was this his church face? The face he gave at the prospect of fresh meat?

I reached toward the door handle. An impulse to escape crackled through my nerves, to jump and roll onto the asphalt and pavement. I recoiled, and swallowed.

“Lots of, uh, not-Mormon people come?” I asked, to occupy my mind.

“Not really; well, every once in a while, especially for baby blessings and such.”

My gaze wandered around the car. I searched for something, anything, about which to inquire.

“I, uh, ok, uh, how long does your church last?”

“The whole thing is three hours,” he answered.

My eyes widened.

He giggled. “But we’re only staying for the first fifty minutes, for sacrament meeting.”


“Oh, I, um, think it’s called Eucharist in other churches.”

“Oh,” I feigned understanding, unfamiliar with both words.

“Don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything. Just pass the tray along when it gets to you.”

Sounded like I did actually have to do something, and his words did anything but assuage my concerns. An excuse, any excuse.

My head spun.

I could tell him I wasn’t feeling well. Just tell him you don’t want to go. He’ll understand, but he looks so excited and happy to have me along. How bad could it actually be? Based on purely what I’d heard about church services, they were either soul-chaffingly boring or more like a rock concert. If I had to judge just based on Michael, it’d be a snooze.

At his home, he opened his front door for me. What a gentleman. I teemed with thoughts of him lifting, and carrying me over some fairytale threshold, bridged creek, awakening me with a chaste, soft kiss.

I followed him, floating down a hall to his bedroom. There was a dress shirt, navy-blue pants, matching belt and shoes, and a navy blue and green paisley tie draped over the edge of his bed. The opposite wall had an unmade bed of the same size.

“Whose–?” I pointed at the bed.

“DJ, my older brother.”

“Where’s he–?”

“Church already,” Michael answered.

“You go to separate churches?”

Michael turned toward the door and reached for the handle. “Same church, separate buildings, and people.”

“Hey, wait, uh, can you, uh, stay and help?” I shot out my lower lip and shortened my neck, eyebrows high.

He paused, mouth open, wordless.

“Sorry, I’m, uh, just nervous, and there’s, uh, so many, uh, many buttons.”

Handling the buttons would be a pain, but manageable. The tie was outside my experience, but I could get totally dressed before I needed help with that. I didn’t want him to leave.

Lips together, Michael’s edges of his mouth arched up. He squinted. “Sure.”


I discarded my shirt, removed sandals, and pulled off my shorts in about three seconds. Tighty-whities covered my sleeping dick, forming a mound, ostentatious.

Michael’s eyes were enormous, though he’d seen it. Maybe it was the setting, the intimacy with me this way, nearly naked, alone together in his room.

“Here.” Michael broke the silence. “Um, I’ll get the shirt ready.”

I smiled and nodded.

Pants up, belt looped, I inserted the tongue to buckle it.

“Wait, before you buckle,” Michael said, interrupting. I looked up. “Let’s get your shirt on before you buckle so your shirt will tuck in easier.”

Eyes affixed on him, I turned my head.

“Just try to keep the pants up–spread your legs a little.”

I hold back a smirk and say nothing, despite the impulse to be flirtatious.

“Let’s try not to wrinkle the shirt–I just ironed it last night.”

He’d buttoned the lowest four buttons and scrunched the bottom to the collar, ringed it around my neck and helped me get my arms through each hole.

Up over my smooth bare chest, he inched with every button. Our eyes met when he fastened the last one over my Adam’s apple; he blushed and looked away.

“Your tie.” He looked at it, then me, then it, at me again. “Have you–“

“No,” I answered, shaking my head.

He flipped the collar up, wrapped the tie behind my neck, and pulled both ends from side to side. His eyes squinted, tongue tip looped over a lip. The tug of his hands, pulling me forward, the zipping and sliding istanbul travesti of polyester in my ears, forces me to nearly lose my balance; our faces less than two inches apart. His eyes studied the knot while I soak up his cologne, and a closeup of his walnut brown, combed hair tapering into a distinct widow’s peak, with lighter bristles over his eyes, faint freckles dotting his forehead, and burnt orange irises. I wanted to pull him in, press him against me. My limbs wouldn’t move. I was a statue, an observer.

“Ok, finally, I think I got it.”

He patted both my pecs and looked me over. He swallowed hard, then smiled.

“Only ever tied my own tie, never someone else’s.” Michael hesitated. “You clean up well.” Then he cleared his throat.

His gaze descended and lingered below my belt. “Nothing to be done about that, I guess.” His face flushed, “I’m sorry I meant no–“

“It’s fine.” I said. And it was. He could look as long as he liked, he could do about anything he liked.


When we entered the chapel, it hits me how much I expected and yet didn’t see. No crosses. No stained glass windows, scarcely windows at all. There’s someone playing the organ, but no pipes in sight. Three lines of pews give way to an elevated area where the organ, piano and a podium rest; three mid-aged men sitting to its right.

Michael grabbed the extended hand of an elderly woman garbed in a styleless brown patterned dress with short spiral gray hair and thick bifocal glasses. “Good Morning, Sister Burch.”

“G’morning, Michael,” she greeted, a low trill in her voice, but stared at me.

She extended her slight, purple-veined fingers to me as well. “Who is your friend?”

“This is Bret, he’s visiting.”

“Oh, from what ward?” she asked.

“I, uh, I don’t, um, I’m not–“

“He’s not a member,” Michael answered.

She smiled. “Wonderful. I’m Sister Burch. Are you meeting with the missionaries?”

My eyes bulged. “Uhhhh.”

The woman pointed behind her to one of the two-door entries, and as if by some kind of witchcraft, the local pair of name-tag-wearing, suit-coat-sporting proselytizers strolled into the chapel.

I flinched.

Michael towed me to sit in the closest pew as he chirped something to the Sister.

“Sorry about that,” Michael said to me.

“Where’s your brother?” I asked, spinning my face over the small crowd of sitting partitioners.

“DJ? Oh, he goes to a different building, for singles ward.”

I lifted a brow slightly. “Does that mean what I think it means?”

“If you think it’s a church full of single Mormons, then yes.”

I grinned. “Why aren’t we there?”

Michael averted this gaze. “Usually only return missionaries go.”

“Oh,” I said, even though the statement only triggered more questions.

A man stood behind the podium and greeted the people, Michael and I quieted.

‘Return missionary’ or not, why couldn’t we visit the singles ward just like I’m visiting now? Maybe I’ll get to meet DJ and ask. Maybe I could pretend to be interested in meeting with missionaries.

Those missionaries were cute, but I didn’t want to talk with them. The less talking, the better. The two of them sat on opposite side of the chapel in the front pew. One was at least six-three, husky, blond and freckled; the other was slight with short light brown hair and glasses, likely my height. They could be my age, maybe a bit older. They’d make reasonable consolations if Michael wasn’t down.

My trunk radiated heat as the services proceeded. Sweat cooled as it dripped onto my thin white shirt underarms, unsettling me more. I clamped my arms tight against my sides. Michael patted my leg. His face met mine with a nod of reassurance. Deep breaths behind closed eyes, I attempted to calm myself.

A group of boys dispersed throughout the chapel. They couldn’t be older than twelve or thirteen. Their wrists rested on the small of their backs, they held a chrome tray of ripped bread in the other palm. Congregants passed the bread after taking a morsel until it reached the opposite end, when a different boy recovered it.

When Michael handed the tray to me, I hesitated to touch it. All people, children, touched the same surface. I pinched the handle and handed it over, then I rubbed my palm and fingertips on my pants. Shudders ran down my spine.

Again, Michael placed his palm on my thigh. This time, he squeezed slightly. I splay my leg out toward him. His hand slid deeper between my legs, less than an inch from my bulge. He snapped his hand back, crimson flashed from his cheeks. Seams around my crotch tightened.

“I need to go,” I said.

He leaned his ear in front of my face, whispers, “What?”

“To the bathroom.”

Michael gestured for me to stand. I do, and he cut in front of me to the aisle between the rows of pews. I followed, casting my gaze down as he did.

At one double-door, another boy stood at the seams. He cracked it open for us to pass.

“This way.” Michael pointed down a hall behind the foyer, istanbul travestileri beyond the double doors.

Through the swing of the bathroom entrance, I studied myself in the mirror, lifting my arm and pinching at the wet area. “Fuck, I’m so sweaty.”

Michael’s eyes pop. “Shh!” he hushed me, a finger on his lips. “You can’t say that word here.”


“Here,” Michael said while he tugged at the brown paper hand towels from the dispenser. His hands ripped segments, giving them to me. I applied the dry surface to my armpit.

“Under my arm feels dry, but the shirt is still soaked. It’s so cold,” I said.

Michael looked about. “Use the hand drier–take your shirt off.”

He helped me unbutton from the top. I fumbled, starting from the bottom. His practiced hands finished five while I still battled with my second.

We were in a rush, but I couldn’t explain why. All those over dressed prudes might break out their torches and pitchforks if they saw a bare chest at their church.

Wasn’t it clear what we were trying to do. Why did he rush? To hide? Perhaps the bathroom was a shameful situation for Michael’s people. Could it be that it embarrassed him to be here with me?

Stretching the bleached white sleeves, Michael pressed the button, and held the shirt close to the dryer’s mouth.

Behind him, there was another mahogany door on the opposing wall next to the entrance. A janitor’s closet? “What’s behind there?” I asked.

Michael contorted his neck, twisted his shoulders, holding the shirt in the heat. “Oh, that’s the door to the baptismal font.”

“The what now?”

“It’s where the local wards do baptisms.”

“Like when you dunk people underwater?” I asked.

He grinned with a nod.

“How long you gotta stay under?”

“Like a second, maybe.” He giggled.

Heat crisscrossed my body and face.

“Can you show me?”

He shrugged and cocked his head to one side. “If it’s unlocked.”

Bret opened the door and a gust of air fluttered our hair. The smell of chlorine and soap wafted as we stepped through the door frame. I closed the door behind us.

With a click of the switch, a light flickered and chimes, then brightened, humming. A finger still on the switch, he pointed his palm down to a set of steps lined with bright powder blue tiles, grouted in light gray.

“Oh, there’s no water.”

He grinned again. “Only gets filled when there’s a baptism scheduled.”

“It’s quiet though–I like that.” I said. “Can people hear us?”

“Probably,” Michael answered, looking about. “If we go back to the shower and close the curtain, maybe not.”

I hunched over as I followed him back to the showers. My hard-on was painful and obvious. Rather than spreading or crossing my legs, I pointed my knees straight up, my chin resting on them, lacing my fingers together over the front of my ankles. Opposite me, he crossed his legs, took a breath, and looked around.

Our whispers echoed. He mentioned his older brother, Caleb, again and again; he was Michael’s rock when their dad died, and mom remarried. The image of some Mount-Olympus-straddling god came into focus as he regaled me with anecdotes. It was like a bursting dam of thoughts and feelings. He flooded the shower stall with them. Mormon marriage was fraught with complications, men often remarried and could be with multiple wives in heaven. Women, though, could technically remarry, but only their first husband was forever.

“How would that work out with the kids?” I asked him.

Michael assured me that God would work it out.

It was one thing, like me, to have little or no direction, entirely another, to have prescribed behaviors, activities, and schedules with black and white outlooks in this gray cosmos. A needle pierced my heart, the burn radiated through my chest, and my eyes moistened.

“Your mom seems nice,” I said, lying. She was polite, but not nice or warm.

“She’s usually nicer.”

It took me a while to land on a response. “That’s cool. Everyone could stand to be a little nicer, I guess. My dad could stand to be a lot nicer.” I smiled.

Eyes lifting to meet mine, half his face winced a smile before staring at the tile again, before laying down on his back, hands interlocked behind his head, legs crossed at the ankles. He drew a deep breath and sighed through pursed lips.

For long minutes, only periodic echoes of water drops plopping below us disrupted the silence. I stared at his crotch, an arch at the zipper that I hoped was, but probably wasn’t, an erection.

Michael took another deep breath and sighed. “Dads.”

“Yeah, Dads,” I agreed. “How is it that we both get screwed in the dad department, but Stanley gets two great ones?”

Michael lurched up to sit and glared into my eyes. “My dad was wonderful.”

“I didn’t mean–.”

He went to rock up to his feet. I took him by the arm with both my hands. “Hey, I’m sorry. Your dad was great, I’m sure. I was talking about your mom’s new husband.”

He huffed, face still travesti istanbul scarred with offense. “That jerk.” Michael paused, eyes darting back and forth. “He’ll never be my dad,” Michael said. “I hope they put him away forever.”

Another silence spread through the stall. My hands and face went clammy.

Did I want to tell him? Yes, I wanted to, but should I? It had worked before to get Keith to open up. Could I count on it to grease the wheels with Michael, too?

“My mom, uh, they put her away.”

“What?” Michael gasped, then pulled closer and whispered, “Your mom?”

I lowered my head, took a deep breath, and re-established eye contact. “Yeah, been six years.”

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to pass judgment on your mom. Your mom didn’t deserve that.”

“She might have,” I said.

“Don’t say that. Your mom loves you. I’m sure she doesn’t deserve it.”

Lips closed, I didn’t express my disagreement. Perhaps my mom, dare I say my dad too, had some kind of love for me, just didn’t know how to show it.

Michael continued. “At least, she doesn’t deserve it like, like David does.”

This time, I let the quiet settle, hoping he’d tell me more. In a perverse way, we were instantly closer. It filled me with unexpected joy. I pushed back a smile and hid my lips behind my knees.

“Mom wouldn’t tell me what happened, only that David was arrested.” Michael cleared his throat. “It took a large part of a weekend, but I got into the court’s local network and found out more than I wanted to know.”

My jaw fell. “You broke into–“

“Shh!” Michael held a finger before his lips.

Softer now, “You hacked the court? I didn’t know that–“

“I shouldn’t have said anything.” He glanced around the stall, tentative. “No one knows.” His gaze returned to my face, his eyes pleading. “Will you promise not to tell?”

“Of course,” I said with every intention of keeping my word.

Fingers drumming on the tiny white tile floor, Michael stared at the shower curtain.

“What–what did you find out?” I asked, at last.

He pursed his lips and clicked his teeth. “Really awful things,” he said. “I didn’t have the stomach to read it all–there was,” he sighed. “There was so much.”

“I understand.”

“They accused him of finding men who were willing to pay, to pay for it, to, uh, you know.”

“For sex,” I said.

Michael nodded.

Spinning, my head was spinning through memories of Dwayne.

Was Michael’s David my Dwayne? What are the odds? It couldn’t be–can’t be.

“Are you ok?” Michael asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine, why?” I responded without a thought of its falsehood.

“You went white.”

With a hard swallow, I repeated, voice hoarse, “Yeah, fine.”

What would happen if they were the same person? Would I see Michael in court? Would he watch me testify against his stepdad? Describe what I did for him? With him? Would he ever speak to me again? How could his mom find and actually marry such a manipulative asshole?

I needed to know for sure, needed Michael to show me.

“Do you think you could get back in?” I asked and lifted my head to meet his eyes.

“Into that server?”

I nodded, insistent.

“Yes, but–“

“Could you take me?”

“Why?” he asked as he squinted and shook his head.

“I could read all the reports and tell you the PG-13 version.”

Michael pursed his lips. “I don’t know.”

“Please,” I said, and choked back emotion.

His eyes considered me for a moment and finally gave me a nod. I wanted to kiss him, but stood up instead. “Will your family be missing you?”

“I doubt it.”

“Can we, uh, go back to your place, like, right now?”

Michael smiled. The rings supporting the curtains screeched against the metal bar and we left the font, then the church, then finally arrived at his home.

Below my chest, my heart pounded, mouth dry. “Are the courts open today?”

Michael scoffed. “No.”

“Could we go tomorrow and get the documents?” I asked.

With a shake of his head and a smile, Michael said, “That’s what I was trying to tell you. I have the files on my computer still.”

I gaped at him. “What?”

“They’re right here on my hard drive.”

Files on the screen expanded into windows, cascades of files inside. He clicked on one. “Here you go.” Michael vacated the seat and turned the monitor toward me.

Goddamn computers. I’d used them at school a little, but I avoided them. Just scrolling through a document shouldn’t be taxing, though, right?

Eyes wide, I read through the case, breaths shallow. Michael left the room, clinks and clanks drummed from the kitchen.

Jesus Christ, so many forms, order blah blah, order for blah. Where are the details? AO 91–Criminal Complaint. Ok, this looks promising.

11A Sex Offenses, too vague… Aggravated Assault, could be…13C… Intimidation, yes… Wire Fraud, no idea… Kidnapping/Abduction, maybe… Assisting or Promoting Prostitution, oh my god. No. Please no.

I trembled, the room wobbled. Shaking it off, I opened another file.

Anticipatory Search and Seizure Warrant

Case No. blah

… property located in the…

My heart stopped before racing, pounding in my chest. An address on the street of the Motel. I gulped. The motel, my unit, clear as day. There was no mistaking it.

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