A TALE OF TWO SHOWERS
by Curt Stubbs
There are no truths
Inside the gates of Eden.
He was just a soldier
who loved baseball
and whose eyes teared up
at the national anthem.
He also cried at sentimental movies
and giggled at the sight
of puppies and kittens.
In eighth grade he fell
in love with Tom Bailey
a neighbor who was in
his P.E. class at school.
Shower time was a time
of pleasure/pain as he tried
to keep his thirteen year old body
from responding to the sight
of warm water sluicing
over Tom’s naked body.
I will never forget his naked, broken body
lying in the latrine showers,
his face no longer recognizable,
the back of his skull
stove in by a baseball bat.
He followed Tom like a puppy,
wherever Tom led he was sure to follow.
They went to the movies together
but he couldn’t concentrate
on the movie with buddy
beside him in the dark.
They sat together on the school bus
and together hassled
Archie the bus driver,
calling out whenever Archie
missed a gear, throwing spit wads
and being altogether thirteen year old boys.
He joined the army to serve
his country. He thought the repeal
of “don’t ask, don’t tell” would protect him.
And besides Tom had enlisted
at the same time and they thought
they could serve together.
The army had different plans
and sent one east and one west.
In high school he made sure
that he was in Tom’s P.E. class
so he could continue to see that
which was forbidden to him.
He wasn’t sure whether the feelings
he had for the girls Tom
went out with were jealousy or envy,
he just knew he was uncomfortable
when Tom bragged of his exploits.
He told one of the others in the barracks
that he was gay and HE told another, and HE another
and soon the whole barracks knew.
One Friday night he and Tom
cruised Main Street with Tom in the truck
with his arm hanging out
and catsup dripping down.
Officer O’Rielly was not amused.
They each got a $300 ticket
for disturbing the peace.
Jason Swanson justified killing him
with the standard “gay panic” defense,
claiming that he had made a pass
at him in the shower
but he had had his back to Jason
and never knew what hit him.
He was just an eighteen year old soldier
who loved baseball and his country.
3880 N. Park Apt. A
Tucson, Az 85719