The Greatest American Hero
by ticklish David


Boy, was that an electrifying time of my life! Late August back in 1981, a
couple of  weeks before I would turn eleven years old and my big brother
Fran's softball team, The Old Town Tavern, had just upset the kings
themselves. Triple O's were looking to defend three consecutive
championships up at the Mst softball league but they needed to get past
Fran's team in order to go after their fourth. The buzz around Southie was
that Lucas Lawrence, Triple O's star pitcher, could not be beat and the
"O's" would have no problem whipping Old Town's ass to get to the
championship round. Franny and the Old Towners had other plans. They fought
incredibly hard throughout the entire seven game series and it was my
brother who lead the way. At the time he was not even put into the same
league as pitching talent goes with Lawrence. But, through immense
determination and heart, my brother and the Old Towners pulled off the upset
that nobody thought they could. It was very special to me because I was the
team's batboy. It made me feel so important that in some way, I was part of
their victory.
The scene down the bar after was a sight to watch. There they were a bunch
of 25 to 30 year old guys celebrating by cheering, singing, drinking up a
storm and pouring champagne all over each other. The champagne was my
favorite part to watch because it just looked like so much fun. There wasn't
a frown anywhere to be found in the entire bar. Then, that moment came when
it was my turn to get "the taste of celebration" when my cousin Richie, who
was the first baseman, noticed I was dry and would have none of that. Next
thing I knew at least 7 or 8 Old Towners were drowning me in Budweiser,
Miller and Heineken. I was lovin' it!! You see, I never played little league
or any youth sports for that matter. I had my friends who came over my house
but I rarely went out. I just didn't have the desire because I was either
scared to do so (you just never knew if some kid was going to come along and
pick on me) or I just found more stuff to do around the house. But, deep
down inside I wanted to go out and play and become part of a team but, I was
just too scared and didn't think I could do it. I think that's why being the
batboy for the Old Town was so important to me. It was just my way of
feeling part of a team.
I walked up to my brother after the celebration was beginning to die down
and boy, was he completely shitfaced at this point. I told him how proud I
was of him and congratulated him on beating the "O's" which seemed
impossible to do. He smiled a drunken smile and messed my hair in an attempt
to pat it and said "thanks lil' bro!!" and walked on past me out the door of
the bar with several of his team-mates who were heading out to do some more
partying without the girlfriends and parents around. I did want to spend
some time hanging with my big brother and celebrate his accomplishment more
with him, but it was okay really. It was his moment and I guess I wouldn't
want my little brother around either............if I had one that is.
The next day I found out that Old Town was going to play "The Bayside" for
the Mst league championship. I was in my room reading this in the South
Boston Tribune to my friend Sully who was over hanging out with me just
before he was going to his little league all-star tournament. He thought it
was great, so he said, but he never seemed to look up from the t.v. screen
where he was playing with my "Frogger" game for Intellivision.
"Did you hear me, Sully?"
"I heard ya, that's great." Sully replied still never looking up.
"Don't you have anything else to say about it?" I pried. I wasn't completely
sure what I actually wanted him to say, but I knew I wanted him to
appreciate the fact that this was so special to me. Sammy Sullivan was an
outstanding ball-player himself for Southie Little League. Although not very
big at all for an 11 year old kid, he had the toughness of a pit-bull and
backed down to nobody. He was one of the most well liked kids in our class
and voted by the girls as the most cutest (I didn't really rival him for
that honor...or remotely come close for that matter). Sully and I got along
well for the most part. Playing catch and playing video games at my house
was usually the brunt of our activities as he usually paid me a visit before
he would hit his practices. He was about 4-10, 76lbs, sandy brown hair over
sky-blue eyes, I could really see why the girls liked him so much. With his
lack of enthusiasm to my bit of news about my brother’s team I decided to
get a little mischievous. I stood behind him while he sat in my canvas
director's chair and reached around and knocked the paddle out of his hand.
He, as I suspected he would, objected.
"Wha'd are ya doin'?! I was jus' about to beat YOUR score, ya loozah!!"
Before he could say anything else I pulled back on the chair and tipped him
over and brought him down swiftly, but gently on his back. I then started to
dart my wriggling fingers into his armpits, ribs, and belly. Sully was
incredibly ticklish which was one of my favorite things about him. He was
giggling up a storm and was only mildly trying to fight me as he did see the
humor in what I was doing. Then I decided to take it to the next level.
While he was still down, I grabbed a hold of his legs and brought them back
which was curling him up into a ball. I then sat on my bed, which was right
behind me and was looking right at the soles of Sully's Adidas shell-toe
sneakers. I locked his legs within my legs and yanked his sneakers off his
feet. I started to slip my fingers into the elastic band at the top of his
tube socks and pulled down revealing his whitish ankles.
"NOOOOOOOOOOOO" he yelled out as he figured out what my next course of
action was.
"Not gonna listen to me? Then this is what you get!!" I snapped humorously
back at him. I now had one sock off and could see his little size five bare,
soft, smooth sole in front of me. I grinned from ear to ear as, being the
good tickler that I was, just knew by looking at his foot he was as ticklish
as anything.
"Okay, okay I'll listen to you. Just done' tickle ma feet!!"
"Too late!!"
The other sock of Sully came off and there was that socky linty crap in his
toes so I started digging that out which made him go spastic. He started
laughing hysterically, as I was drawing little circles and solid lines up
and down his defenseless feet. His hands were trying to tickle my feet,
which were right by his head. But, my feet were planted firmly on the ground
so it was not working too well for him. He finally wiggled and screamed and
eventually pulled his way out of the hold I had him in. I also kind of let
go because I know that if I tickle Sammy too long he gets pissed off. He
started pulling his socks back on his very tender feet (I don't think he
ever walks around barefoot at home) and resumed playing my video games. As
he was proposing a challenge to me with the game the phone rang. I knew my
mom was not home so I ran out to answer it. It was my sister on the other
end. She would say something that would end up having one of the biggest
impacts on my entire life.
"Hi sweetie!!" Marie greeted me.
"Hi Marie, howzigoin’?" I replied
"Good honey, did you have a great time last night at the game and the bar?"
"Yeah. It was alot of fun."
"Listen, David, we're all going up to Lake Winnepasaukee next week for the
whole week. Gary and me are going with Jeanne and Stevie. There will also be
another couple who is friends of Gary who have two kids your age. Do you
want to go, honey?"
Now the dilemma that was going through my mind at this point was that the
Old Town was going to play Bayside for the championship and I really didn't
want to miss that. But, at the same time, it would be nice to have a fun
time up at a lake with my sisters and a couple of kids to play with. I
really had to deliberate this.........I came to my answer.
"Yeah, I guess so, Marie"
"Are you sure, sweetheart? I know you wanted to be at Fran’s game but this
would be the only time we could get the cottage", my sister tenderly
"I think so. Sounds like fun."
"Okay, we are leaving Saturday and won't be back 'til the following
"Okay" was all I said (I was eleven....they don't say much over the phone).

Saturday was here and we were on our way up. My sister Marie, she was in
her early 20's and her boyfriend and my other sister Jeanne, in her late
teens and her boyfriend, and some other couple that would meet us up there
who had the two kids, a boy and girl my age. I sat quietly in the car while
my sisters and the fellas carried the conversation pretty well. Gary was my
sister Marie’s boyfriend who I cared for quite a bit. He had the greatest
sense of humor of all time and used it very effectively. His wit cracked me
up all the time, but it wasn't hard to make me laugh. Just whip up a good
face, silly line, a good belch or fart was good enough to put me on my ass
for a good while. Gary used to let me steer his car when I was a real little
kid and a lot of times he usually brought my sister and me to the drive in
or something. We went to go see Jaws during its second release the year
before and I was sooooo scared. Gary made it a lot easier though because he
brought humor into the whole scene by swerving the car quickly pretending to
run over sharks that weren't there while on the way home. When we got to my
sister's house he pulled out this WWI sword and wielded it around saying I
had nothing to worry about. I felt quite better after that.
We arrived at the small cottage up at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.
We were the first ones to make it up there and the moment I saw that huge
lake I was history. I immediately put my bags away, yanked off my shirt, off
came the sneakers and socks, grabbed my towel and I ran to the end of the
dock........SPLOOOSH!!!  Oh man! I was in Heaven. I loved to swim more than
any activity in this world. I would swim underneath the water, which allowed
me to separate from the world even if it were just a few minutes. I could
really hold my breath extremely well so I was enjoying this tranquility for
the time it lasted. Unfortunately, because there is so much that a set of
eleven-year-olds lungs can take I bolted up through the surface of the
water. Then I saw him.

Then I saw him.

"Hey, hiyadoin’?"
"Good" I said sheepishly as I was completely awestruck by the overwhelming
good looks of this kid. He stood there wearing a bathing suit, a small thin
kid with blonde hair and blue eyes, the typical cute boy look I suppose. He
looked like someone has created a smaller version of Sting, the lead singer
of The Police cause his hair was sticking up.
"I'm Brandon, are you David?"
"Yeah" again, was my lack-of-charismatic response. I started to feel
something really weird happening in my stomach...something wasn't right, but
yet felt.......almost good.
With that, Brandon leaped into the water and was swimming under it.
Meanwhile, I still stood there somewhat motionless still feeling the
queasiness in my tummy from the kid I was looking at. Why was this happening
and better yet, WHAT was happening? I never ever looked at any of my friends
quite the way I looked at this boy, I felt my hands start to shake as I
actually got a little nervous for I did not understand what I was feeling at
this point.  He broke the surface of the water and he was glistening with
droplets. He came over to me and was smiling. Lets just say at this point
that I was happy to see him too.
"Did it take you guys long to get up here?" he asked.
"Not too long."
"You from Southie?"
"Yeah." (was I the conversationalist or what?)
"I live in Easton.....You play sports?"
Oh man, why'd he have to ask that one? How could I explain to this kid that
I was just a batboy for my brother's softball team? I mean, it was special to
me, but he might think I'm a dork. I also never had the real efficiency to
lie very well.
"Sure......but I quit.....the coach was an asshole." I replied. (I said I
didn't have the "efficiency" to lie, I didn't say I didn't lie)
"That stinks, what did he do?" Brandon pried. (he wanted reasons?)
"He made me leadoff when I wanted to bat third and he used to......just give
me a hard-time and it ....really.....wasn't that fun anymore. That's why I
quit. Do you watch wrestling?" I attempted to divert the topic so I wouldn't
make anymore of an ass of myself than I was already doing.
"Yeah, I love it. Do you like to fake wrestle?"
"Yeah, its a lot a fun" I could feel God himself smiling at me at this
point. I couldn't believe an invitation like this one was coming my way.
Brandon and I got out of the water and went inside. We put on dry clothes
and played the video games he brought up along with his sister who was two
years older than us. The adults were starting to get drunk as they were
partying something fierce. When the beer was going strong, we three kids
were banished to the room to play there. The three of us were getting to
know each other just a little bit better and we were hitting it off rather well.
Brandon’s sister Samantha was a pretty funny girl and enjoyed trying to make
us laugh by making faces and stuff like that.  She wasn’t the most
attractive girl for 13, but her personality made up for it. She introduced a
game that I had never played before called “Isolation”. Upon hearing the
announcement of the game, Brandon said “oh man, not THAT game!!” which made
me curious. Sam replied that we had to play or she was going to “beat the
shit out of both of us”. Neither one of us protested as she was clearly
stronger than both of us, being a tomboy.  I was a wimp anyway so it didn’t
matter and Brandon sure wasn’t protesting with his very small frame. The
object of the game was that Brandon and I would have to sit totally
motionless while she would do things to try to make up lose our
concentration or make us move. Both of us sat there on the bed with our legs
hanging over the side. She said “ready, set, DON’T MOVE!!!” Brandon and I
froze right there. She came up to Brandon first and puffed her cheeks out
like a blowfish and crossed her eyes right in front of Brandon’s face. I
could see out the corner of my eye see Brandon’s lips tighten and he tried
to divert his eyes away from Samantha’s goofy look. He held on like a
trooper as she unveiled her next tactic to sink her younger brother. She
reached down at his feet and grabbed the toe of his sock and slowly slid it
off his foot. My eyes immediately looked straight down to this being done as
I was beginning to realize that I had this thing with bare feet. Brandon had
a very smooth foot with an incredible high arch, which I really liked. She
brought his sock up to his face and slowly waved it in front of his nose
saying “mmmm, Brandy, does this smell good?” and Brandon winced his face a
little bit, but he wasn’t breaking. I actually felt the corners of my mouth
begin to curl a little bit as I found what she was doing a bit humorous. I
also wanted to bring her attention to me as I was told that one of the rules
is if a person gets “out” then they join the original person in trying to get
the last person to break. Because Brandon had one of his feet revealed I
began to develop a scheme in my mind. Well, my subtle smile did the trick. I
got Sam, the nasty beast, to get her attention on me. I was hoping she would
do at least something mildly humorous so I could pretend to crack up and set
my sights on Brandon. To my surprise, Sam did not disappoint me. She stood
in front of me in a standing catcher’s crouch with her hands on her knees
staring at me in the face. She widened her eyes and let her mouth drop in
this mock-surprise look when all of a sudden I heard this erupting sound
come from right behind her. It sounded like a bullfrog was trying to escape
from right out of her ass with a scream. Sam, the nasty pig totally ripped
her ass with an astounding fart that could have cleared out a small village
in terror! I nearly doubled over in hysterics at such a passing of the
devastating hurricane that came compliments of Sam’s rectum. As I regained
my composure I noticed Brandon was still sitting there, but now completely
red-faced as he tried desperately to keep his laughter in.  I was amazed at
this and also pleased he hadn’t given in because now I could do some things
of my own. I smirked an evil grin at him as Sam was now allowing me to take
over as the “person” for lack of a better term. I knew right where I wanted
to go too. I sat down on the floor in front of the bed where Brandon’s feet
hung. His left foot was bare and his right socked. I looked right at his
feet and was feelin’ pretty good about it. I slowly peeled off his other
sock as I saw his baby blues looking down at me with nervous, but excited
interest. I said out loud “I know this is against the rules, but lets see if
you can take this” and with that I placed my index finger on the heel of
Brandon’s left foot and teasingly dragged it towards me across his sole. His
blue eyes became a hell of a lot more visible as they widened. A corner to
corner smile was forming on his face as well. I started to play “this little
piggy” with his toes, which was cracking Sam up at this point. I could see
Brandon’s gray Nike t-shirt begin to move as he was breathing harder and
swifter. I then pulled back each little toe one at a time and scratched the
little space right underneath them which now made him jump incidentally
making him move. I got him. He yelled, “that’s no fair! There’s no tickling
allowed in this game!”
I said “what do you care? You won anyway.” And continued my more than
satisfied smile.
“Oh yeah?” he came back with.
“Yeah” I retorted sarcastically.
He then jumped off the bed on top of me to my complete surprise and started
jabbing his fingers into my sides, which I was rolling all around trying to
avoid. Both of us were laughing as we were rolling around wrestling,
grabbing at each other and tickling each other. I was enjoying it like it
was going out of style. Sam was watching us in enjoyment as she was rooting
for me to get her brother down and pin him. I definitely would have
attempted to do that if it had not been for one thing……something was
beginning to “happen” to me again. I got that sick feeling in my belly and I
felt something begin to “rise to the occasion”. I was panicking now. I
couldn’t believe it. I immediately jumped up and onto the bed face down.
Unfortunately, I came down a little hard on the mattress than intended and I
thought something broke. I yelped in pain and Brandon and Sam surrounded me
and asked me if I was okay.
“Oh yeah, I’m fine. I just got……..ah……..a cramp”
“Ya sure you’re okay, that was really sudden” asked Sam.
“Yeah, trust me, I’m really okay”. Because of the new pain I felt other than
the queasiness in my stomach, I felt myself calming down. I turned over and
looked up at Brandon who looked at me with genuine concern. I smiled at him
and he returned it very warmly, as I had never seen another boy his age do
in that fashion. It was nice.
Suddenly, the door flew open and Gary, my sister’s boyfriend burst into the
room and leaped on the bed. He grabbed Brandon in a bear hug and I jumped on
Gary’s back. Gary was reaching under Brandon’s t-shirt tickling the poor boy
until tears were forming in his eyes and face was turning red.  I was trying
to get Gary off of Brandon so that he would consider chasing me, but the
only thing he did was he moved down to Brandon’s poor defenseless feet which
were still bare compliments of his sister and me. He raked his fingers over
his feet and Brandon was going crazy. I reached around Gary’s neck and tried
to put him in a reverse headlock. His arm darted in the air and tossed me
right off and I fell off the bed and flat on my ass. I could feel an even
newer pain now in my tailbone and I began to cry. Upon hearing this, Gary
stopped and looked over at me and asked me what the problem was. I then saw
Brandon peer over Gary’s shoulder down at me out of innocent curiosity. Gary
started to mock cry the same way I was which was making Sam and Brandon
laugh. Because Gary was doing it so well I was laughing and crying at the
same time, which I hated! He was making light of my whole situation and I
didn’t want that. He started to make jokes that I was a real “pain in the
ass” and that I had a “new cross-wise crack to match the vertical one on my
ass” and that I “caved in the floor” because my ass was so fat. He was
making the three of us really laugh but now I could feel the oppression of
embarrassment weighting down on me. I looked up to see Brandon’ laughing
face which was causing a piercing feeling in my heart. I was so fucking
humiliated that I mustered all the dignity I could and got up and walked out
of the room with drying tears on my face and the pain still great on my
tailbone. As I departed the room I heard Brandon bust out in high-pitched
laughter again as I knew Gary’s fingers were going to work on the thin,
ticklish boy. It didn’t compare the feeling of pain that my pride was
I walked past the row of teens and young adults totally shattered watching
TV and listening to 70’s disco on the stereo. I walked outside to the small
yard that was next to the cottage. It had gotten slightly chillier than this
afternoon but I was okay. I could feel the moist grass blades going in
between my toes of my bare feet as I strolled on over to the picnic bench. I
could hear the sounds of the crickets as there seemed to be at least
hundreds of them singing to the newly darkened sky above. The gentlest of
breezes surrounded my being as I sat down on the wooden bench facing the
lake where I had seen that boy for the first time this afternoon. I peered
up to the sky and saw an orange moon in the company of an infinite amount of
brilliantly white stars, which completely captivated me.

I peered up to the sky.

So many different
emotions were bombarding my mind at once now. Feelings of exhilaration,
jealousy, rejection, and a feeling that I could not find a term for because
I had never felt it before. It made my stomach feel sick that I felt for a
boy like I never had before in my life. I was confused and now found myself
beginning to cry again. This time it wasn’t due to any physical pain.  I
pulled my knees up to my chest and hugged them as I rested my chin upon
them. I stared off into space and started to think that this had been a bad
idea to come up here.
After sitting outside for about an hour or so I walked back inside to see
that nobody had moved out of their spots for the most part. The stereo was
off and everyone was just watching TV at this point. I quietly walked toward
the crowd of people and found a spot of my own. As I was sitting down I
looked over to the big easy chair and saw Gary was sitting there with
Brandon on his lap. I sucked it up and just watched TV as Samantha looked at
me and asked me again if I was okay from my fall. I re-assured her that I
was okay… least in a physical sense. I noticed the show on TV was a show
that had just premiered only a couple of weeks ago. “The Greatest American
Hero” was a story about a guy who stumbles onto a super-hero costume and
attempts to assume the role. He finds that he cannot figure out how to be a
hero at all as he keeps crashing into buildings and messing up which were
supposed to be the funny part of the theme. I found the irony between this
show and my life to be just sickening. Throughout my whole childhood I had
always found myself trying to please people no matter what the circumstance.
I always felt it to be my fault that my parents divorced two years earlier.
I remember the arguments and I remember the blame being assessed. My mom
became my whole world after that which I felt great about but I wanted so
badly to have a relationship with my father. Unfortunately, he was just
incapable of reciprocating the love and affection I craved so badly. Out the
corner of my eye I saw this boy who I felt was so much better than I in the
cradling of a man that I also sought out approval and affection from……… not
tonight apparently. I continued to stare at the TV screen but my mind was
completely lost in another world that I had escaped to. A world where I
could walk down the street holding my father’s hand and feeling his
protection through his grasp of my small fragile hand. I never wanted to
come out of this world……..ever. I came back out with a crash as I suddenly
felt a weight fall on my back and a small arm reached around my neck . I
began to feel thin fingers beginning to wriggle lightly around my side as I
realized that Brandon had just jumped me while I wasn’t paying attention. I
snapped quickly out of the funk I had just been in and felt excited all over
again. It was amazing the effect this boy had on me after I had only just
met him several hours before. I, being the larger boy of the two, grabbed
him and pulled him over me and I began tickling his sides which made him
kick and flail all over the place.
“Ahhhhhh….staaahhhhp!!!!” he yelled.
“You jumped me so take it!!” I snapped back humorously.
“ I waaaaassss ohoahahahanly kiiihehehedding” he said through a fit of
“So am I, can’t you tell?”
We were both lying next to each other as I tickled away on him. He had every
chance to escape but didn’t try that hard to. I eventually stopped after
about forty seconds and we were lying on our backs looking at the TV and
continued laughing because we were calling each other funny “rag-down”
names. The more insulting we were the harder we laughed. I also noticed
that both of us had lifted out legs and rested our feet on the easy chair
that Gary was sitting in. I was really into looking at this kid’s feet. He
had such smooth toes with that pale Irish skin. His toe-nails looked
completely pedicured as they seemed perfect. I looked at mine and saw almost
the opposite, which maybe why I walked all the time around my house in
socks….even to bed if my mother would let me get away with it. I think I
just simply hated my feet. Gary had been up taking a piss and getting
himself another beer. He came back and sat down in the chair and made no
notice of the four small boyfeet that were staring at him. I returned my
attention to the TV show. When about fifteen minutes or so passed by,
Brandon started to giggle again. I asked him what was funny as the
commercial was on at this point. He then turned his head up to the ceiling
and was laughing a little harder and even started snapping it side to side
as I was dumbfounded as to what was so funny. I turned my attention back to
Gary’s easy chair where Brandon and my bare feet still rested. There was
Gary poking and prodding away at Brandon’s soles. I simply looked at him as
my left foot was about two inches away from Brandon’s and it remained
untouched. I got up and proceeded to the bedroom to go to sleep. I sniffed
my armpits as I entered the room just to make sure it wasn’t my hygiene that
made seem like I had the plague in Gary’s eyes. I couldn’t seem to win. I
fell asleep with tears streaming once again from my eyes. What a vacation.

I woke up in the middle of the night to feel warmth of some sorts on my
right. I looked over and saw that someone was sleeping in the bed with me as
I could hear the deep breathing of the mystery person beside. Stricken panic
shot through me as the thought of the possibility that I could be Samantha.
Holy shit, like I really needed this at this point? If this was her I was
just going to “will” myself dead on the spot. I could read the headlines now
“11 year-old boy found dead lying next to two-legged wildebeast.
Investigators say boy may have been killed out of over-whelming shock”. Talk
about the vacation from hell. I carefully peered over the sleeping
silhouette and found, much to my shock (a good one this time) to see that it
was Brandon next to me. My heart nearly leapt out of my chest. He must have
crawled in with me as I noticed the American werewolf in New Hampshire
sleeping over in the other full-size bed. I sat up and kept looking back and
forth between my hands and the sleeping angel next to me. I thought to
myself if this kept up that I was going to need to be committed to a home
from having a nervous breakdown. My hands started to shake a little as I
started to think thoughts that I never would have dreamed I would have. I
just couldn’t help but look at his blonde hair that the moonlight was
shining down on. I just looked at all of his facial features with his
twitching eyelashes, button-nose and perfect skin as the next thing I know
my face is practically resting on his ear. I couldn’t control myself any
longer. I rested my lips right above his left ear and lifted right back up.

I couldn't control myself any longer.

I was stunned as to what I had just done, but he was asleep so it hurt no
one. A smile formed on my face, as I believed I hit the calm of the storm
known as my vacation to Lake Winnipesaukee. I laid back down in the bed and
was beginning to drift off to sleep when all of a sudden I felt Brandon’s
foot kick me in my leg. I looked right over at him and now he had turned on
his back and was facing up now, but his eyes were still closed. It must have
been a reflex or something and closed my eyes again……….and then I started
getting thoughts again, but this time of a different nature. I realized I
got kicked by his feet……those feet. The corners of my mouth turned up
devilishly. I crept out of the bed and walked out into the main room of the
cottage, which still had a lamp in case anyone had to go to the bathroom. I
went into the bathroom to see what I could find. I saw a hairbrush with a
comb stuck in the middle of it, several toothbrushes sitting on the sink,
and a couple of pens unexplainably sitting on the toilet back. I cocked my
head upon seeing the pens and thought “who the hell would get the urge to
write while takin’ a shit?” I just shrugged my shoulders and removed the
comb from the brush and proceeded to go back to the bedroom. I got stopped
dead in my tracks when I saw…………. it. There it was in all its glory. It
stood so tall and proud with its erect solid stance, yet fragile existence.
It brought back that weird sickly feeling in my stomach which, at this
point, I was getting used to and always would feel anytime I saw another
like this one. I walked over to it and with each step I took I got more and
more excited by the prospects of its beauty. I never actually saw one live
like this, but it was far from a disappointment. As a knight would proudly
and bravely pull his sword out of his sheath I pulled this pure as a snow
eagle feather out of the ridiculous looking hat that it had been sitting
there. I couldn’t have cared less that I had to snap it off the hat. I
figured screw them, let them think a raccoon stole it. Twirling my newly
found weapon in my index finger and thumb I scurried back into the bedroom
and closed the door behind me. I carefully laid back down on the bed right
where Brandon’s feet were sitting comfortably under the one cover that was
on the bed. I looked at him as he still faced up and saw that his mouth was
open and he was heavy breathing. He was out like light. I then rested my
head upon my elbow and laid the feather next to my chest. With my other hand
I slowly lifted the covers back to expose Brandon’s incredibly soft,
high-arched feet with the perfect toes. This was going to be so worth it. I
could hardly contain my excitement over seeing what was going to be Brandon’s
eaction. I picked the feather back up and lowered it over Brandon’s toes
on his left foot, which was closer to me. I danced the very point of the
feather on the tips of his toes going back and forth. Brandon’s first
reaction was he spread his toes apart and let them relax and come back
together. It was a small reaction, but always a good first one. I then
slipped it in between each toe and now I was getting his foot to jerk back
and forth a little bit. He then shifted his whole body to his side and faced
away from me, which now put his very bare soles in my direction. How sweet
of him to cooperate with me like this! I now started to slide the feather
blade over his soles drawing lines and circles all over the arches, heels,
and edges. His feet were really starting to twitch and his toes were
wiggling frantically. I was having a ball!! Then, he let out this loud
reactive guffaw that made him his body spasm a bit and he shot right up. I
immediately flicked the feather on the floor, put my head right down and
feigned sleep. I couldn’t hear anything but I could feel him shifting around
trying to get comfortable again. After a couple of seconds of his shifting I
felt a finger scratching at the sole of my left foot, which felt more nice
than ticklish. I shifted my feet and he stopped. We both fell back to sleep
into a heavy slumber. For me, it became the most enjoyable part of my
As the vacation wore on, I would experience a couple of more situations like
the one of Gary playing with Brandon and not me. I suppose it was easier for
him to do that because Brandon was clearly a cuter kid than I was. I guess
some kids are just born with it. Although Brandon, Samantha and I would play
more things together, nothing was as fun as that first night. If anything,
things went sour between them and me. We got into a fight over something
that I absolutely cannot remember and we would not talk to each other for
the rest of the vacation. My sister Jeanne was fighting with her boyfriend
and anytime I wanted to try and strike up a conversation with my other
sister, Marie, she was usually in the middle of cooking a meal, or doing the
dishes, making the beds, or having a beer. I got completely lost in the
shuffle and was counting down the days until we were going to go home. As a
last kick in the crotch I got to sit with “angel-boy” and “Chewbacca” for
the whole ride home in the back seat. We didn’t even pretend to ignore each
other, we just did. I came home to find that Fran’s team had won it all. I
was so happy that they did it but was so bummed I wasn’t there. I felt real
bad but I guess that’s the way things go sometimes. It was a week that would
remain embedded in my memory from here on in. I never felt the strong
feelings of hurt that I did that week in quite the same way. Too much stuff
had happened and I was just glad it was over. I haven't yet to this day gone
back to Lake Winnipesaukee……nor do I have a desire to do so.

February 3, 1999

Were you looking for a happy ending? Hmmmm, wish I could help you there, but
it really wasn’t a happy time. But, sometimes happy endings take a while to
come around and I guess, in this case, that’s exactly what happened. Ya see,
we can look at bad experiences in two ways. One way is to cry about it and
say “why did that happen to me”. The other way is a very interesting way of
looking at a past “bad experience” such as mine. I believe my trip to Lake
Winnipesaukee had a huge influence on my life. Even thought the experience
itself was miserable, it helped me to build one of the most positive and
enjoyable parts of my life that exists today… work with kids. I have
literally dedicated a part of my life to serving the youth of my community
in all kinds of capacities. With my experience, if I didn’t feel the hurtful
rejection given to me then maybe I wouldn’t have wanted to help kids today
not to feel those feelings. All the promises broken to me as a boy I keep
with the kids I commit to. All the male attention I so desperately wanted
like hugs, pat-on-the-backs, words of encouragement, play wrestling, and
tickling I now give to kids today. I have an 18-year-old kid with whom I
call my “little brother” because he was one of the kids that got the
attention that I spoke about from me. He needed it because, like me didn’t
have any kind of affection as a small child from his dad. He has been and
still is one of the best things that has ever happened to my life and he has
a place in my heart to call his own. Eventually, the Greatest American Hero
stopped crashing into walls with the frequency he did when he was very
young, and he did learn to fly as time went on………………………………
…………….and fly he did, with dignity.