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Subject: Heatwave in the City Chapter 13 This is a work of fiction. Everybody in it is entirely my own creation. Don’t even think of suing me for putting you in a story, because I haven’t. If you happen to be resident in one of the places mentioned, or to belong to any of the institutions mentioned, don’t even think about telling me I haven’t portrayed them accurately. Work of fiction. The name of the institution only occurs because it is common knowledge so I couldn’t get away with pretending it was otherwise. If I’ve borrowed your Church, school, police station, laundrette – I haven’t. I’ve merely used the name on the building because people walk past and see it every day. Work of fiction. None of the people in the story exist, so none of the things that happen in the story can have happened to them. The world, however, is the one exception to this – the world which has in it so many wonderful people that writing fiction of this sort becomes an obligation – for me; not for everybody. You’ll have found your own place in the scheme of things, and can be wonderful in your own way. This is a story of love. It isn’t a story of sex, though that might get mentioned. There is no pornography here. Some of it is cross-generational, but it isn’t about perverted love either. Some is what nowadays is termed “gay”, but the same applies. If you think you might be offended by that, the time to go and read something else is now. Still reading? Then enjoy, and remember, you don’t pay to read these stories, but it does cost Nifty money to bring them to you. Please consider donating to Nifty fty/donate.html Heatwave in the City by Jonah Chapter 13 Dinner was a slow starting occasion because Bob felt bad. No he wasn’t ill, just convinced that he had made a fool of himself and everyone knew it. Of course he was right – we all knew it – but, if he imagined that we cared…. It’s a well known fact that good food can help with such situations, and so can good people. Well Kori and Liam were good people, and weren’t about to let Bob continue feeling sad. Simon got there first though, mainly because he was sitting next to Bob anyway. “I guess being Paul’s father means that you’re not gay like Kori and me,” WHAT? I couldn’t let that go. “Simon, I don’t think… Ouch! ….sorry Kori, my leg seems to have got in the way of your foot.” “Oh I’m always doing that, ” Kori replied. “I can never seem to keep my feet still. It’s a wonder Liam’s not black and blue.” With a smile Liam nodded his confirmation of this. “Still,” Simon resumed, still talking to Bob, “at least that means that we’re safe from predatory women.” It ocurred to me that it could be me that ended up black and blue if I interrupted again. I held my peace. “I’m older than you Simon,” Bob told him. “I should have more sense.” “Oh, I can be pretty thick sometimes,” Simon replied. “When I decided to come out to my family, I managed to have everybody snapping at each other for days. I just couldn’t see that, since everybody already knew, there was no need for me to upset anybody.” “What’s your point?” “It happened. You’ve dealt with it. You didn’t do so bad. Anybody here disagree?” There was a chorus of mumbled replies, all in the negative. Seemingly, we all agreed with Simon. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have had the courage to handle it like he had, but then – that’s Simon for you.” Dinner, after that was a much livelier affair. It ended with us all repairing to our room to watch a movie before bedtime. Only Bob returned to his own room when it finished. Paul, it was agreed, could sleep with our boys, since tomorrow was our last day in New York. We hadn’t planned on the boys all sleeping with us, when we agreed to that, but that is what happened. Paul, Simon and Kori chose the bottom end, so I woke to find Paul’s soft feet trabzon escort planted against my face. Since I had no problem with that, I decided to go back to sleep. When I woke again only Peter was in bed with me (surprise). I quickly rose and performed my ablutions. Breakfast over we all got ourselves ready for our last day out in New York. Our destination was New York Harbour, from whence we could catch the ferry to the Statue of Liberty – so perhaps I should have said that our destination was Liberty Island. Well never mind. Jake had purchased tickets for us all on-line. He said that was the only way to get tickets for some facilities, particularly for the top part of the statue. Now, it might have escaped your notice that a ferry is a boat. That’s right – we were taking Kori on a boat. Did I ever mention that this handsome boy can be, on occasions, a tad excitable? We were barely a minute out from the jetty when Jake, pointed out that there was a distinct absence of both Kori and Simon. Everybody else was present, but of those two there was no sign. Jake and I conducted a thorough search and eventually spotted the reprobates on the bridge. Our captain was entertaining them up there and I had no wish to intrude. I told Jake we would see them when we got to Liberty Island. I was right,there, as far as it went. We still had to wait for them though. They were last off at that point since, Kori having been shown everything on the bridge, Simon had to be shown the engine. There was a lot of handshaking, backslapping and farewelling from the ship’s company as they finally disembarked and the crew readied their vessel for the next leg of its journey. Jake looked to be ready to give Kori a hard time over it, but then he looked at me, grinned shook his head and led the way to the pedestal of the ginormous statue. Yes, we had come to expect everything in the USA to be on the large side – sometimes for no better reason than that it was in the USA. Coming to expect it could do nothing to prepare us for the size of this lady. Even the pedestal was big, and above it the lady with her torch towered. I don’t suppose I’d ever given it much thought before, but I’m sure most people expect to see a stone statue, in white marble, so it intrigued me to see that Lady Liberty was the colour of verdigris. Indeed it transpired that she was indeed copper-clad, and her colour was the result of oxidization. Kori was still Kori, complete with his tremendous thirst for knowledge, and his enthusiasm for sharing it with everybody. Of course he had been researching the statue ever since he discovered we were going there, as was his usual custom and the very reason that Jake sometimes doesn’t tell him where he’s going. I’d never understood that particular strategy. I’m sure Jake thought that an excited Kori would get on everybody’s nerves. He’d failed to grasp that everybody else loved Kori too. Anyway, on this occasion, he’d let Kori have his head, and Kori had not disappointed. Kori seemed to know every word that has ever been written about the statue, and he was happy to share it with us, and anybody else who would listen. He soon attracted a crowd because, when Kori gets like that, he is good at it. If he’d had a hat to pass round, I’m sure he’d have got rich. I have my own opinions of the big lady, which probably differ from Kori’s because he’s American, and I’m not. The statue was given to the American people to celebrate their freedom from English rule, by a people who had also smarted under English rule for centuries, and not long after that country’s humiliating defeat in the Napoleonic wars. Am I being paranoid in sensing an anti-English theme here? Well I’m not alone. Feminists, peace demonstrators, anarchists, religious zealots, and all sorts of other groups have stood beside the tunalı escort statue, claiming it for their own, and the big lady holds her torch high. Nobody will ever succeed in defining what she represents because she will happily back absolutely anybody and everybody. You want to be an atheist? – she will proclaim your right to be one. You’re an immigrant? – so is she. Feminist? – Lady Liberty is female all right, Christian? – she has her roots in the Sermon on the Mount. Moslem? – Liberty is yours. Liberty shines her light for everybody. Well that’s my view, but Kori put it better. The ascent to the very top of the statue, well to the crown, is only possible if you book in advance, and Jake had done exactly that. There is no better place to see New York Harbour and its environs. It is probably the best possible view of the Manhattan skyline. The boys were excited, and Bob and I were not less so. Our descent culminated in a visit to the Statue of Liberty shop. We were tourists and should behave like tourists, and then it was time for Kori to be reunited with his friends on the ferry. Simon stayed with us this time, but Kori, predictably, spent the entire duration of the crossing on the bridge. That boy’s thirst for knowledge was not going to be denied. From the ferry landing at Battery Park we made our way down State St. and Broadway and found a MacDonalds just beyond Zucotti Park. We had six hungry boys to feed, so perhaps that was just as well. From there Jake took us to somewhere he hadn’t told Kori about in advance. From Macdonalds we set off down Liberty St. and were soon surrounded by the towers of the World Trade Centre. Amidst a grove of trees we found the massive pools that have been placed on the sites that were, until September 2001, occupied by the twin towers of World Trade Centre 1 & 2. Here nearly three thousand people perished in one of the worst acts of deliberate terrorism that the world has ever known. Many of those people were murdered involuntarily. Some voluntarily gave their lives for others. All of them are commemorated here, their names engraved on the surround to the pools. Facing the pools is the entrance hall to the museum. Here are yet more lists of names. While the activities of commerce carry on in the surrounding towers, this space is a place of pilgrimage for countless people who wish to pay their respects, and to remember. Our boys were visibly moved. There were tears – and not just from the boys. After a very moving day, it was a subdued group of boys who returned to the New York Hilton. We never made it to the lift however. We were once more accosted by the concierge. “Could I have just a moment of your time sirs?” “Of course,” replied Jake. “Do you need all of us? Will I do?” “The manager asked me to let him know when you came in sir,” said the concierge. “I’ve paged him. He should be here in a moment.” “We’ll wait,” said Jake. We didn’t wait long. A shortish young man in a grey suit with a name badge clipped to his breast pocket was with us in half a minute. “Gentlemen,” he said. ” I am Hamilton Rhodes, manager of this hotel. Thank you for waiting for me.” We shook hands and then waited patiently. “Gentlemen,” he continued eventually. “last night this hotel could have been involved in a scandal that would have included several other hotels as well. I want to thank you for your help in avoiding that.” We variously muttered that it was nothing. “Gentlemen, I assure you that it wasn’t nothing. You’ve no idea what something like that can do to a hotel’s reputation. The concierge tells me that you haven’t booked dinner yet for tonight. Were you planning to dine elsewhere?” “We haven’t made any plans yet,” Jake replied. “We’ll book you in at whatever time you wish then,” said Mr. Rhodes. “Order whatever tunceli escort you wish. The hotel is paying.” We all tried to express our grattitude, which he wouldn’t hear of. He insisted that the pleasure was his, and thanked us again. Finally we got up to our room. Dinner was booked for seven o’ clock, and we settled to watch the news channel. Peter, Liam and Luke retired to a corner and were playing some game with picture cards. There had been a pack of “Top Trumps” cards in Luke’s case so that was probably it. I left them to it and slipped across to the boy’s room. This knocking and entering always hits the jackpot. I found three naked boys in bed. I know there were three of them because I could see three pair of bare feet sticking out the bottom end. I could only detect two heads at the other end though. “You will make sure that Paul doesn’t suffocate under there, won’t you?” I said. Kori had turned red. “Er…. Jonah, I….” I knelt by the side of the bed and kissed him gently on the forehead. “Enjoy yourselves boys,” I said. “You’re not babies, and you know what you can and can’t do. Just don’t hurt each other. Dinner’s at seven, make sure you shower first.” I kissed Simon as well then left them to it. Back in our room Jake turned from the television. “They OK?” he asked. “Better than OK,” I replied. He grinned. “That’s what I figured,” and turned back to the TV. Dinner was a splendid feast. It transpired that Mr. Rhodes was a good as his word in allowing us to choose what we liked. It proved significant though that he hadn’t allowed us to choose the quantities. There were nine of us, but he had clearly told the kitchen staff that they were cooking for eighteen. Everybody was filled to the brim with happiness and good food. At one point I thought Bob was going to get up and make a speech. He insisted that he wanted addresses for us all before we left in the morning. He further insisted that meeting with us was the one good thing that had happened to him, and his son, since his wife died. He further wished to say……. but we never found out what he further wished to say, because Paul put his foot down. Jake and I looked at each other. We had deliberately, and without a word being spoken, sat on either side of Liam. The only drink Bob had consumed was table wine, and he and Paul were alone in drinking that. It was complimentary from the hotel and Jake didn’t feel able to turn it down, but he wouldn’t drink it in Liam’s presence. Nobody would, except that Bob and Paul knew nothing of Liam’s history. The wine had clearly made Bob magnanimous, as well as somewhat mellow. Liam sat and beamed at him. I had once seem Liam cower in fear when somebody took a drink. I’m sure Jake had seen it often, but Liam is a very special boy. Whatever demons torment him, when Liam sets out to love people, that trumps everything. He didn’t fear Bob, with or without alcohol, as he might once have done. The people he loved were happy, and that was what Liam wanted more than anything else in the world. When the meal was finally over, it was Liam and Kori who steadied Bob as he staggered to the elevator. Simon was steadying Paul as well. The goodnights as we retired to our respective rooms were brimful of goodwill. New York would always hold special memories for us. Tonight she would watch over us for one last time, as we slipped into Slumberland. TO BE CONTINUED If you’ve enjoyed this story, you’ll probably enjoy other stories in this series by the same author. This is the latest in a series that includes “A letter from America”, “Stranger on a train,” “Marooned”, “the Boston Tea Party”, “Immigrant,” and “A Cantabrian Operetta”, all the foregoing are on Nifty’s Adult/Youth site. “The Pen Pals” is on Young Friends. You might also like “A Neglected Boy”, by Jacob Lion, also on Adult/Youth. You can find links to all these stories, as well as some illustrations on Jacob Lion’s website bly/jonah-stories.html My thanks go to Jacob for providing this facility as well as for his kind and generous support without which I would never have written any of them.

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