The Man from Swift Current
© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved

THIS STORY IS COPYRIGHT © 2011 BY RUSS NIELSEN. THIS STORY IS FULLY PROTECTED UNDER THE UNITED STATES COPYRIGHT LAWS © 17 USC §§ 101, 102(a), 302(a). ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PLACING OR POSTING THIS STORY ON ANY WEBSITE, OR DISTRIBUTION OF THIS WORK IN ANY WAY (PARTS OR WHOLE) WITHOUT THE EXPLICIT CONSENT OF THE AUTHOR IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. ANY AND ALL COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENTS WILL BE PROSECUTED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW.

DISTRIBUTION FOR COMMERCIAL GAIN, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, POSTING ON SITES OR NEWSGROUPS, DISTRIBUTION AS PARTS OR IN BOOK FORM (EITHER AS A WHOLE OR PART OF A COMPILATION) WITH OR WITHOUT A FEE, OR DISTRIBUTION ON CD, DVD, OR ANY OTHER ELECTRONIC MEDIA WITH OR WITHOUT A FEE, IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED WITHOUT THE AUTHOR'S WRITTEN CONSENT. YOU MAY DOWNLOAD ONE (1) COPY OF THIS STORY FOR PERSONAL USE; ANY AND ALL COMMERCIAL USE EXCEPTING EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS REQUIRES THE AUTHORS WRITTEN CONSENT. THE AUTHOR MAY BE CONTACTED AT: rnielsen47@gmail.com.

BY CONTINUING TO READ THIS STORY, YOU ARE STATING THAT YOU HAVE READ AND AGREED TO ALL DISCLAIMERS FOUND ON THE DISCLAIMER PAGE WHICH IS USED TO ACCESS THIS STORY. IF YOU CAME FROM ANOTHER SITE AND DID NOT VIEW THIS PAGE, YOU ARE REQUIRED TO VIEW IT BY FOLLOWING THE NORMAL NAVIGATION STEPS FOUND AT ITS HOME SITE LOCATED AT http://storycove.us.


Chapter 65: Zach and Mark

I worked on my blog most of the evening, trying to make it as interesting as possible.   As I wrote, I pretended that I was talking to Rick, telling him about my day.   I heard my bedroom door open, but I didn’t look up from the computer screen.   I wanted to finish writing down what had happened in the locker room with Devon.   Ben came into my room, and looked over my shoulder at what I had written.

Ben said, “I didn’t know that Devon made another pass at you while we were getting cleaned up.”

“I didn’t say anything at the time, because I didn’t want to cause a scene,” I said, glancing over at my cousin.

“I’ll have a talk with him tomorrow.   He’s got to learn not to cross certain boundaries.   I like him a lot, and I know his strengths and weaknesses.   Don’t be fooled by him, Glenn, he’s just looking to get laid, and it doesn’t matter to him if you have a boyfriend or not,” Ben said, earnestly.

“I know, but he sure is good looking,” I said, laughing.   Just the memory of Devon’s hand on my ass had things moving down below.

“Yes, but looks aren’t everything,” Ben said.   He leaned over and pointed to the photo of me and Rick.   “Glenn, read what it says under this photo next to the clock.”

“I know what it says, Ben.   I intend to keep my promise to Rick, but can’t I at least enjoy the eye candy?” I asked, whining just a little bit.

Ben laughed, “Okay, but no tasting it, or evening touching it!”

“I’ll have to tell Rick that he chose wisely when he asked you to watch over me!   You can be so mean sometimes – taking me into a locker room with all of those beautiful guys stripping down in front of me!   I’ll just have to make my way out to the ice rink, and bypass the visual pleasures in the locker room,” I said, with a sigh of martyrdom.

Ben laughed, “Don’t even try to pretend you’re a saint!   I know for a fact that Rick has had to keep you on a pretty short leash.”

“He has not!” I protested, perhaps a little too loudly.

“Oh, yes he has.   I know you, Glenn.   The entire time you were having sex with Ian, you were flirting with every other guy who would give you the time of day!   How quickly you forget!   I was there and witnessed it first hand, remember?”

I was blushing pretty furiously by this time, “I wasn’t that bad in high school was I?”

“Yes, you were.   How many times did you have sex with other guys besides Ian?” Ben asked.

“I don’t remember,” I said, hoping Ben wouldn’t continue to press me to admit it to him.

“You don’t remember?   Let’s see!   Maybe I can guess,” Ben said, grinning from ear to ear.

“No, don’t!   It was three other guys, and, no, I didn’t ever tell Ian.   We never talked about us being a couple, or even dating.   All Ian wanted was to have a good fuck,” I said, bitterly.

Ben replied, “I know that’s all Ian wanted; so that’s why I never told him about the other guys you messed around with during the first few months that you and Ian were together.”

“So you knew all along?” I asked, amazed that Ben had been so observant.   I thought Ben had been so wrapped up with his hockey training to notice anything else.

“Yes, don’t you remember that we shared a room that year?   There wasn’t much I didn’t know about you.   I had your back the entire time, especially when you got one of my teammates to fuck you the week after we returned from our winter holidays,” Ben said.

I was completely astonished, “You knew about me and Jimmy?”

“Yes.   Jimmy told me he had sex with you, and wanted to know if I cared that he was messing around with my cousin.   I told him I didn’t care, as long as he treated you decent,” Ben said, laughing at the expression on my face.

“I wondered why Jimmy started asking me out on dates after that.   All I wanted was a good fuck, and Jimmy was pretty horny; so we went at it in the locker room one time when I was waiting for you,” I said.   I was beginning to wonder what else Jimmy had told Ben.

“I know.   Jimmy complained that you kept making excuses not to go out with him, but you wanted to have sex with him,” Ben said laughing at the memory.

“Well, I really didn’t want to date him.   I just wanted him to fuck me, that’s all.   We hooked up one more time after that.   Jimmy told me he didn’t want to just have sex.   He wanted to date me, and be my boyfriend.   I told him I already had a boyfriend.   He got pretty angry with me and didn’t speak to me after that,” I said.

“Jimmy came to me to verify that you already had a boyfriend.   I told him that you were in a relationship with Ian, but that I wouldn’t call him a boyfriend.   Jimmy said he hoped Ian wouldn’t hurt you.   Did you know that Jimmy married Cameron a few months ago?” Ben asked.

I looked at my cousin in surprise.  “No, I didn’t.   Is that who Jimmy was dating in high school after I told him to get lost?”

“Yes.   When Cameron came home after being away at college, Jimmy proposed to him and they were married a week later,” Ben said.

“I want Rick to marry me, but I’m not sure he’s ready to make that commitment, yet,” I said.

“Be patient, Glenn.   Rick has a lot of things to deal with right now.   Rick loves you, and when the time is right, he will marry you.   Just don’t badger him about it, okay?” Ben asked.

“So, you approve of Rick, then?” I asked.

“Yes, I do.   He treats you like royalty, and is always looking for ways to make you happy.   I think he’s a keeper.   If I didn’t think he was good for you, I wouldn’t have told you so,” Ben said, laughing.   “Rick is so afraid of losing you while he’s away that he made me promise to scare off any potential suitors!”

“Are you serious?” I asked, laughing at the thought of Ben standing at the door with a shotgun, warding off any guys that tried to make a pass at me.   I decided to ask Ben a question I had been burning to ask.   “Is Taka gay?”

“I don’t think so.   I think he’s just curious about gay sex, since he now has a gay roommate,” Ben said.   “He has a girlfriend, Midori, who practically lived in his dorm room last year.   I’m amazed that she hasn’t been over since we’ve been here.”

The disappointment must have shown in my face, because Ben said, “Sorry to burst you bubble.   I know you thought you might have a gay roommate.   Since this is our last weekend before school starts, do you want to go to Duluth with a couple of my teammates?”

“Sure.   Why are they going to Duluth?” I asked.

Ben laughed. “Don’t be dense, Glenn.   They are going home for the weekend to see their parents.   Zach and Mark are both from Duluth.   Zach’s parents have invited us to visit them when Zach goes home.   I went home with Zach a couple of times last year.   I think you’ll like them.”

“Are they rich, or something?” I asked.

“Yes, they are very wealthy, but they are very humble people.   Like I said before, I think you’ll like them,” Ben said, smiling.

“What time are we leaving in the morning?” I asked.

“Zach and Mark will be by to pick us up around 8 AM.   Is that okay with you?” Ben asked.

“Yeah, I’ll be up and ready to go,” I said.

Ben said, “Don’t stay up too much later, or you won’t be able to get up on time.”

I laughed, “Okay, Mother, I will go to bed soon!”

Ben cuffed me up the side of the head, “That’s for being a smart ass!   You’d better watch your mouth, Boy!”

I laughed even more.   “Yes Mommy!”

Ben ignored me and said, “Good night, Glenn!”   He left my room, closing the door behind him.  

I stayed up for another hour or so, writing on my blog.   I made sure to let Rick know I was going to Duluth for the weekend, and wouldn’t be posting anything until we returned.   I thought about the two handsome guys that would be picking us up in the morning.   Zach Anderson is tall (yeah, I know, everyone is tall compared to me!) and well built.   His blond hair and blue eyes make me melt every time he looks at me.   Mark Mattison is the same height as Zach, only he has dark brown hair and chocolate brown eyes.   Mark reminds me a lot of my Rick, only with darker hair!   I’m looking forward to spending the weekend with the guys.

*** ***

Rick sat reading Glenn’s blog when Sam entered the barracks.   Rick shut down the computer and asked, “What’s up, Sam?”

“Nothing, just wondering what you were up to in here,” Sam replied.

“Just reading Glenn’s blog,” Rick said.

Sam smiled, “I’m glad Glenn decided to keep a blog.   You seem much happier now than you have been since we got here.”

Rick smiled as well.   “Yes, I’m glad Glenn agreed to write a blog.   I really like being able to read about everything he’s been doing.   He really is a great writer.   I didn’t know that Glenn could write poetry.   He’s posted some of his poems on his blog.”

Sam laughed and said, “You can say, ‘Thank you, Sam,’ now.”

Rick repeated after Sam, “Thank you, Sam!   I’m glad you suggested it to Glenn.   However, you’re still on probation with me for what you did.”

Sam’s smiled faltered slightly, “I know, but I’m trying to make up for my mistake.”

Rick thought to himself, “Sam really is trying hard to change.   I really should cut him some slack.”

Sam continued, “I’ve talked with my brother about you and Glenn.   He is glad to know that I’m getting to know someone else who is gay, so I can be a better brother to him.   He and his partner want to be married; but they have passed a constitutional amendment in our state, prohibiting gay marriage.   They are talking about moving to another state where gay people are treated with respect and dignity.   It makes me sad that they are being forced to move from the town where we grew up.”

Rick said, “I’m sorry to hear that he is moving away from home so he can be with the one he loves.   I know that Glenn and I will have to move as well, if we want to get married.   We haven’t finished college, yet, so we’ll be staying in Atlanta for a few more years.”

They both turned towards the door as Stan walked in.  Stan asked, “Are you guys up to playing some pool?”

Sam said, “Sure.   I’m game.”

They both looked at Rick who said, “Yeah, I’m in.”   Rick and Sam joined Stan and headed over to the recreation hall.

*** ***      

I woke up early and was showered, dressed and packed before Ben woke up.   I went downstairs to fix us some breakfast.   As I was cooking some pancakes, Taka came into the kitchen totally naked.   I did a double take.   Taka was sporting morning wood that proudly stood out from his stomach.   His jet black pubes were neat and trimmed.   I was speechless!   I hadn’t expected to be treated to such a sight while cooking breakfast!

Taka jumped in surprise when he saw me, “I’m so sorry!   I didn’t know you were in here.   I will be back.”   Taka turned and ran back to his room.   He appeared a few minutes later wearing his jockey underwear.   He apologized to me again.  “I’m sorry.   I didn’t know you were in the kitchen.”

I had to smile.  “It’s okay, Taka.   You can run around here naked all you want.   It doesn’t bother me.”

Taka returned my smile.  “Yes, I forget you like guys.   Thank you for showing me those websites yesterday.   My girlfriend is not happy because I was looking at them last night.   Midori says I have to stop.   She worries that I like guys better than her.”

“Is Midori here now?” I asked.

“Yes, she stayed overnight with me.   Does that bother you?   If it does, we will stay at her apartment,” Taka said.

“I’m okay with it.   What does Midori like for breakfast?” I asked.

Taka thought for a few minutes.  “Midori likes coffee and some toast, I guess.   We don’t usually eat breakfast, so I don’t know, really.”

Taka got the coffee maker ready and turned it on.   “I’ll be back when the coffee is ready,” he said, and left the kitchen.

I returned to making pancakes.   I’d already cooked some eggs and sausages, and placed them in the oven to keep warm.   As I flipped the last pancake onto the serving plate, Ben arrived in the kitchen.  “Perfect timing,” I said.  “Come have a seat, and let’s eat.”

We sat down to breakfast.   We were just about finished when Taka showed up with his girlfriend.   Taka said, “Glenn, this is Midori.”

Midori said, “Hello, Glenn.”

Midori is the exact same height and build as Taka.   Midori sat down next to Taka.   I asked, “Would you like some pancakes?”

Midori shook her head, “No, thanks.   I would like some coffee, please.”

I passed her a cup of coffee and then cleared my dishes off the table, with Ben right behind me.   We washed our dishes and made our way back upstairs.   We had just returned downstairs with our stuff when we heard a knock on the door.

Ben opened it.   “Hey guys!  Are you ready to go?” Mark asked.

Ben answered, “Yes, we’re ready.”

“Good.   Let’s put your stuff in the back, and we can be on our way,” Mark said.

We hopped into the back seat of Zach’s Toyota 4runner and Zach pulled out of the driveway and turned onto Como Avenue headed towards I-35W.

Zach asked, “Glenn, how do you like the University of Minnesota, so far?”

“I like it a lot.   I especially like being able to see you guys practice.   In high school, I used to hang out with Ben and his teammates.   I’ve missed that, being at Georgia Tech,” I said.

Mark said, “Ben is our best center.   Zach and I play left and right wing.”

Ben said, “Mark’s being kind.   Stan’s actually a better center than I am.   Zach and Mark are our best wingers, though.”

Zach laughed, “Yeah, we make a pretty good team.   I love playing hockey.   My Dad played hockey for the University of Minnesota when he was in college.”

Mark said, “Zach and I have been best friends since grade school.   We’ve lived next door to each other for as long as I can remember.   I’m glad we both managed to get on the same team.   I was afraid one of us wouldn’t make it, and that would’ve been terrible.”

Ben said, “Glenn and I are best friends as well as being cousins.   Glenn spent his senior year as my roommate.   He almost had to go back to the farm though, because we got into a fight with some Quebecois at our school.”

“Yeah, my Dad wasn’t very happy with me about that,” I said.

“Glenn, where is your family’s farm?” Zach asked.

“It’s in a small town called Aneroid, Saskatchewan,” I replied.

Mark asked, “Okay, so where’s that?   I mean, I know where Saskatchewan is and I’ve driven across it on the Trans-Canada Highway; but I don’t remember a town called Aneroid.”

“It’s directly north of the middle part of the state of Montana,” I said.

“Got it,” Mark said.   “No wonder you wanted to finish high school in Swift Current.”

Ben said, “There isn’t much to do there.”

Zach said, “Do you guys like to play pool?”  

“I do,” Ben said.

“I’m not very good at billiards,” I said.   “I like to watch others play, though.”

Mark said, “I’ll teach you how to play.   I managed to teach Zach, so I’m sure that I can teach you.”

Ben laughed, “I wouldn’t be so sure about that.   I’ve tried to teach Glenn how to play pool on a number of occasions and haven’t succeeded.”

“Ben’s right.   I’m not very good at sports.   I do okay with soccer, but I’m terrible at everything else,” I said.

Zach said, “I’ve heard that you’re pretty good on the piano and with a violin.”

I looked over at Ben, knowing he had been bragging about my musical skills.   “I’m okay.”

Mark laughed, “That’s not how Ben put it.   He was talking about his musical cousin even before you decided to go to school here!”

Now I was really blushing, “Ben exaggerates just a little bit.   I do okay.   My mother started teaching me both violin and piano as soon as I was big enough to pay attention.   I guess I was about two or three years old.”

“My little brother is kind of like you, Glenn.   He’s not very good at sports, and he plays the violin.   He’s the brainy one.   He is doing very well in school, and I think he wants to be a doctor someday,” Zach said.

“How old is your brother?” I asked.

“Robbie is 16 and a junior in high school,” Zach replied.

Mark said, “He’s pretty good on the violin.   I’ve heard him play many times.   Of course, when he first started, it sounded horrible!”

“Yes, it did sound pretty bad, at first.   He’s much better now,” Zach said.

“Do you have any brothers and sisters, Mark?” I asked.

“No, I’m an only child.   Zach and Robbie have been like brothers to me since we’ve always done everything together.   Our parents met while they were in college, and have been good friends ever since then.” Mark replied.   “Both of our dads are medical doctors.   My Mom is a micro-biologist and Zach’s mom is a pharmacist.”

“Wow!   It sounds like they are all very smart people,” I said.

Zach said, “They are and they expect us kids to be smart, too.   That’s why my parents were all over me when my grades slipped last year.   They threatened to have me taken off the hockey team if my grades didn’t improve.”

Ben said, “I remember you said something about that.   Your grades are way better than mine, so I don’t understand why they would get on your case.”

“I got two B’s, so they thought I was playing around too much,” Zach said.

I whistled.    “I’ll be happy if I get B’s let alone an A in my classes, especially the math classes!   I’m glad my Grandpa isn’t hounding me about my grades!”

Mark laughed, “I’m glad my parents aren’t on me about mine.   They’ve been pretty easy going so far.”

We continued chatting until we approached Duluth.   Zach asked, “Do you guys want to go to Canal Park before we head home?”

Ben asked, “Where’s Canal Park?”

Mark replied, “It’s on Lake Superior.   It’s a great place to see the waterfront and there are some good restaurants near there.   Let’s go there, then, we can eat lunch before going home.   I’ll call Mom and let her know not to expect us for a couple of hours.”

Mark made his call and got his Mom to call Zach’s parents for us.   Zach drove us downtown, and found a parking spot not far from Canal Park.   The wind was blowing pretty hard, but the sun was shining; so the wind felt pretty good to me.   I pulled out my camera and started snapping photos.  

Ben said, “Hey Glenn!  Look at the sea gulls!   The wind is blowing so hard they are staying stationary over us.”

I looked up, and sure enough, there were several sea gulls with their wings spread, floating in the wind and staying fairly stationary over us.   I snapped a photo of them as well.

Ben said, “That should make a really cool shot!   Let me see it.”

I flipped the button to show photos and showed Ben the shot.   “It really did turn out pretty cool!   I’ll have to enter it into a photo contest or something,” I said.

I showed it to Zach and Mark who both agreed that it was a great pic.   We walked around for a bit before we went back to Zach’s car.   Zach found us a place to eat.   After lunch, Zach drove us home.   He dropped Mark off at his house, before pulling into the driveway of his parents’ home.

Ben was right!   Their home was huge!   Zach smiled at the look on my face.  “My friends always have that look when they see my house for the first time.”

I was speechless!   How could anyone live in a house this big!   Ben laughed, “Okay, Glenn you can stop staring at it.   Let’s go inside.”

As we approached the door, it swung open to reveal a tall, slender youth with the biggest green eyes I’d ever seen.   His face was very pale and his blond hair hung down to his shoulders.   I could see a little bit of peach fuzz growing on his chin.   It appeared that he wasn’t really shaving much, yet.

He ran down the steps and hugged Zach.   “Welcome home, Zach!”

He turned to us, “Hello, Ben.   I assume this is your cousin, Glenn.”

Ben said, “Hello, Robbie.   Yes, this is Glenn.”

I reached out my hand which Robbie held onto for a fleeting second before releasing it.   He smiled, “I’m glad to meet you.”   His entire face lit up when he smiled.   Otherwise, his face had a kind of haunted look to it.   It made me wonder if he was suffering from some kind of illness.   There were black shadows around his eyes.

Robbie said, “Let me show you to the guest rooms where you’ll be staying.”

We followed him inside.   Ben laughed when he saw I was enjoying the fact that Robbie was wearing skin-tight jeans and a tight-fitting emerald colored t-shirt that matched his eyes.   Ben leaned over and whispered, “He’s too young for you.”

I laughed, “Yes, but I can at least enjoy the view.”

Robbie turned and looked at me, smiling.   “It’s okay Ben.   I’m used to it.   I’m gay and proud of it.   I’m glad that Glenn noticed me.   I intentionally dressed this way to get his attention and I’m happy to know it worked.”

Zach came up behind us, “I should have warned you that Robbie is a big flirt.”

Robbie laughed, “Yes, I love to flirt with the guys.   It’s a lot of fun.   You guys will be staying in these two rooms.”   He opened the doors to the two rooms.   Our rooms are across the hall from yours.   My room is on the right and Zach’s on the left.”

Ben took the first one and I got the second.   The boys helped us put our stuff away.   Robbie was putting my underwear in the top drawer of the dresser, when he turned to me and asked, “Which kind of underwear does your boyfriend like the most?”

“Rick likes those mesh ones,” I replied, pointing to the black mesh pair Robbie held in his hands.

Robbie grinned, “I thought that might be the case.”   His expression changed to one of longing and he said, “I wish I had a boyfriend.”

“I’m sure you’ll find a nice guy to be your boyfriend when the time is right,” I said, reassuringly.

Zach appeared in the doorway of my bedroom and said, “Let’s go meet my parents, now that you’re settled.”

Robbie placed the mesh underwear in the drawer and closed it.   “Okay, let’s go.”

Zach led the way through the house to a large sun room (it was more like a greenhouse than a mere room) where his parents were enjoying the sunshine.   There were lots of flowering trees and shrubs, with a water fountain and several statues scattered around the room.   As we approached the garden table, Zach’s father stood up to greet us.

He was a tall, athletic man.   As Zach stood next to his father, I could have sworn they were identical twins!   Zach said, “Dad, this is Glenn Nielsen.   He’s Ben’s cousin.   He’s going to be Ben’s roommate this year at school.”

“I’m glad to meet you, Glenn.   Your cousin has bragged you up quite a bit.   We understand that you’re a great musician.”

I blushed as I shook his hand.   “Thank you for letting us stay with you.   Ben is too kind.”

“We’ll have a recital later tonight by you and Robbie.  We love music and look forward to hearing you both play,” he said.

Mrs. Anderson came up to us, “Glenn, welcome to our home.   I’m glad my husband has asked you to play for us.   We enjoy good music don’t we, Robbie?”

Robbie smiled, “Yes, Mom.”

She laughed, “Robbie gets to give us a private recital every evening, so it’s a real treat for him when he doesn’t have to be the only one.”

Robbie said, “That’s true, Glenn.   I’ll have to show you my violin.   I think you’ll like playing it.”

Robbie took me by the hand and led me out of the sun room.   Holding his hand was getting me really horny.   Robbie grinned at me.    “I’m so happy you came.   It’s not very often that I get to hold someone’s hand.   At my high school, there is a very active Gay-Straight Alliance group; but, even so, I still don’t have a lot of gay friends.   My straight guy friends always want me to suck them off, but I’m not into doing that with them.”

“I don’t blame you.   My boyfriend is the best thing that ever happened to me,” I said.

Robbie’s smile faltered for a moment, but then quickly returned.   “How long have you had a boyfriend?”

“A little more than a year now,” I replied.

Robbie led me into the music room.   There were two baby grand pianos set up side by side on a platform along one wall.   There was a harp standing in the corner.   Around the room there was a variety of other musical instruments:   guitars, flutes, trumpets, and a drum set.   Along the far wall were rows of theater seats.

“I like this room.   It’s perfect for having a jam session with my friends,” Robbie said.   “That’s why we have all these musical instruments.   My Dad used to be in a Jazz band.   The guys still stop by once in a while to play.   I love listening to them.”

Robbie went over to a small table and opened an instrument case.   He removed a very beautiful violin.   He turned and handed it to me.   I felt the warm wood under my hands, and looked inside to see who had made the instrument.   The label inside indicated that it was made by Luigi Azzola in 1924.

“This is a very expensive instrument, Robbie,” I said.

“I know.   Mom and Dad said they wanted nothing but the best for me.   It appraised for $30,000 when we bought it.   I don’t take it to school since it’s worth so much.   I take this one,” Robbie said, as he opened another instrument case and removed another fine looking violin.   “This one is worth about $4,000, so I’m not quite so paranoid that someone will steal it.”

“What music are you learning?” I asked.

“I’m learning the Mendelssohn violin concerto.   My violin teacher thinks I’m ready for it,” Robbie said.

“Will you play it for me?” I asked.

Robbie beamed, “Sure.”

He put his violin back in its case and took the one I held in my hands.   He tuned it and then started to play.   I sat down in one of the chairs and listened to him play.   I noted his bowing technique and his hand position.   His intonation was very good and he handled the more difficult passages reasonably well.   Robbie obviously had a lot of talent!   As I watched Robbie play, I realized that maybe I should switch majors and study music instead.   I hated math and English, but I’ve always loved music.   The piece came to an end, and Robbie looked over to see my reaction.

I clapped and whistled, “Great job, Robbie.   You play beautifully.”

Robbie smiled, “Thank you for listening, Glenn.   Now it’s your turn.”   He handed me the violin.

“What do you want to hear, Robbie?” I asked.

“Can you play one of Paganini’s violin concertos?” Robbie asked.

“Yes.   How about part of concerto number one?” I asked.

Robbie nodded his head, “That’s my favorite!   I’ve already told my teacher that I want to learn to play it.”

I stood up and started to play.   This is one of my favorite pieces, because I can show off how well I play, and yet not be obnoxious about it.   Robbie watched with avid interest.   When I finished, he gave me a standing ovation.

“Wow!   I’ve never seen anyone play it live!   You are simply amazing!” Robbie exclaimed, enthusiastically.

“No, I just had a very good teacher.   My mother insisted that I put in the time to learn to play properly,” I said.   “She has been my only teacher.”

Robbie looked at me in amazement, “Do you mean you’ve never had formal lessons?”

“No, that’s not what I mean.   I had formal lessons, alright.   My mother is quite the taskmaster when it comes to music lessons,” I said.

Robbie said, enthusiastically, “That is so cool, dude!  I can’t wait to tell Mom and Dad!”

“Robbie, it’s really no big deal!   I love to play and I don’t usually play for anyone else except my family and friends,” I said.

“Why don’t you study music at the University?” Robbie asked.

“I was just thinking about that as you were playing.   I’m going to look into it when we get back to Minneapolis,” I replied.

Zach and Ben joined us.   Zach said, “Robbie and Glenn come join us.   We’re going over to Mark’s place to play some video games.”

Robbie’s face fell.   I looked at Zach and back to Robbie.   “Robbie, what do you want to do?” I asked.

“I hate videos games because I really suck at them,” Robbie replied.

Zach said, “We could play pool and invite Mark to come over here, Robbie.   How does that sound?”

Robbie face brightened, as he smiled.   “That would be great, Zach.”

Zach pulled out his cell phone and dialed Mark.

“Hey, Mark.   Do you mind coming over here to play pool?” Zach asked.

“Sure, I’ll be right over,” Mark said.

They ended their call.   Zach said, “Let’s head to the game room.   We can get everything set up while we wait for Mark.”

We played pool the rest of the afternoon.   As usual, I played horribly!   Oh, well.   I still had a great time.   Later, we had dinner with Zach’s parents.   They invited Mark’s parents to join us for the evening’s recital.   The music room was filled with great music for the better part of the evening.   It was nice to just relax and have fun!


Prev To be continued . . .