by Max Barry

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The Principality of
New York Times Democracy

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1

Tom & Pete (Gay Romance)

Tom is introduced to Pete in the Top & Bottom (Gay Equality pub) by a mutual friend whose name isnít important.
PETE (to himself) Gracious me, heís lovely.
FRIEND: Pete, this is Tom ...
PETE (to himself) I donít care what his name is. Sex! Now!
TOM (to himself) Wow! (to Pete) Glad to meet you.
PETE (to himself) Tall, slim, almost manly. (to Tom) Do you live near by?
TOM (to himself) Cute, or wot! (to Pete) Practically next door. Would you like to see my new bedspread?

Pete says he would like nothing more. To be continued ...

Back to the story of Tom and Pete. Scene: 20 minutes later, cigarette tine, though neither of them smokes.

PETE (to himself) Heíll expect me to go now.
TOM (to himself) How can I keep him here? (to Pete) Want to do that again?.

Pete does.

Scene: 20 minutes later.

PETE Do you have a boyfriend?
TOM No, but Iím open to offers.
PETE Youíre not rich, are you?
TOM No, but the bedspreadís new.
PETE I have a cat.
TOM I love cats.
PETE I have a boyfriend.
TOM Oh
PETE But itís my cat.
TOM Thatís a relief. Do you believe in love at first sight?
PETE I do now.

Did they live happily ever after? Oh, they just met. Who would care? We donít know them well enough to care. The scene is the same bar where they met five years later.

TOM Gosh! Five years. No regrets.
PETE We were probably too young. Iím only 26 and already an old married lady.
TOM But no regrets, I hope?
PETE You are wonderful. All our friends say so. Even I have to agree, you are wonderful.
TOM So, no problem then.
PETE Just sometimes I think life is already over. Weíve never had a holiday.
TOM We have no money, but weíre doing jobs we love, things we believe in.
PETE. Letís go to the Canaries and have sex on the beach. We can max out another credit card.
TOM Okay. If that will make us happy.
PETE It will.
TOM I love you.
PETE.I love you more.

PETE (he is speaking to us, to you and me) We sat on a beach in December, getting an all-over tan on an island where it never gets cold. I was proud to be seen with him, so handsome, too smooth and young, too innocent for my tastes, Iím a sucker for bad boys and heís not one, my mother likes him better than me, he dotes and if I frown he says ďwhatís wrong?Ē and I say ďwhat could be wrong?Ē We are very happy really. We were. Itís just me.

TOM (he speaks to us) A fabulous holiday, we didnít even spend much money. Sex on the beach. Sex in the shower. Sex in the tapas bar fully clothed, no touching. That was amazing! He has never been so happy, he tells me so, but three months later, on 3 March when I get home from work I read a note, he is gone, and I donít understand. ďThere is no one else; we are too young to settle down.Ē Have you ever felt this desperate emptiness? His mother is upset but stands by him, ďhe is youngĒ; my friends feed me whisky that makes me ill and I cry to them and to myself alone in our bed. Thereís the cat. Heís my cat now.

(A few months later)

PETE Get off me.
LEON (annoyed) Something wrong with me? Bloody tease.
PETE Iím not in the mood.
LEON No wonder that boyfriend of yours threw you out
PETE I left.
LEON Yeah it was all too Ďstultifyingí for our little princess.
PETE I didnít leave him for you. You said no strings attached.
LEON He works in the bookshop. I saw him yesterday.
PETE Heís the manager.
LEON Sexy. Boy next door. Iíd do him.
PETE Youíre not his type.
LEON Yeah, his type is Princess Tease. Poor sap.
PETE (taps number on his phone) Itís me .... Iím sorry. Can I come home?

(10 years later. The cat has died. There is a new cat.)

TOM How did we do that, you know in the tapas bar, without touching?
PETE We were in a palm tree paradise for the very first time, supercharged with wanting to rip each otherís clothes off, but we couldnít touch, not like that, it would have been rude.
TOM We should try it
again.
PETE Sweetie, get a grip. Weíre 37 years old.
TOM Is this true love?
PETE We take care of each other. So yes, true love.
CAT Meow.
PETE Youíd better feed the cat.
TOM OK.

[Tom, Pete & the Cat are living happily ever after]

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