Jules bowed to Kevin's household gods as he arrived, and they rewarded him by sending thoughts of Kevin into his mind. His cock quickly stiffened in anticipation. He rubbed it through the denim of the jeans he wore to please Kevin, who enjoyed being reminded of the near-fetish status of this clothing item in some of his favorite periods of history.

The ritual greeting to the gods was a heartfelt thing for Jules, but he was a person who always respected social forms, even when he caught himself going through the motions without thinking. However, this was not an issue when visiting Kevin, as they both brought a real zest to fulfilling the social niceties. They never neglected any element of the proper greeting, and this evening was no different.

First they exchanged the requisite number of air kisses. Kevin offered tea, and Jules politely declined. Jules backed Kevin against the wall in the entry, and rubbed his nipples. Kevin growled, Jules purred, and they soon found themselves tumbling onto the couch, happily rubbing their dicks together, then against other well-beloved body-parts, drawing out the formal phase of greeting as long as possible before reaching the traditional genital release. Kevin and Jules liked frottage not only because it felt good and allowed them to appreciate each other's fine points, but also because it charged up the etheric energy in the ghost of Kevin's missing arm. They could ride that energy for days after just saying Hello in the proper way.

So it was that as Kevin was happily rubbing his dick on his friend's sweet round belly, having already paid his respects to various other favorite parts of his anatomy, a whirring sound made its way into his awareness, slowly growing more distinct, until he knew exactly what it was.

"How convenient to find you together." Militant Mike spun into the room in his wheelchair, roaring at his usual enthusiastic level, just below that of a small earthquake.

"Much as I love you, Uncle, you do have the worst timing of anyone in recorded history," Kevin teased, "and for lack of evidence to the contrary, I will throw in prehistory, too."

"Prehistory!" Mike scoffed, "Even in jest you are imprecise, if not incorrect." Pretending to be officious was one of Mike's favorite strategies for self-mockery, an ancient practice that he was trying single-handedly to keep alive. Perhaps the love of ancient practices explained his use of a wheelchair, the antique vehicle of the disabled, though he insisted he used it to remind people of alternative approaches to human interdependence: "Others may prefer to use the levitation system," he would always say, "but I cannot see any reason why I should not get about in one of these relics, as long as I can keep the thing in working order." Of course it was not Mike who kept it in order at all, but one of his flock of adoring students, of which there was never any shortage.

Mike, who had always been his favorite uncle, became his mentor only when Kevin fell in love with history. Mike was delighted when his nephew insisted that teaching history was as important as sex work, but keenly disappointed that he did not want to pursue academic research. Instead, Kevin encouraged his own best students to work with his uncle, an arrangement that seemed to mollify Mike.

But when it came to politics, nothing could mollify Mike. Early experience in a youth group of the Permanent Emergency Revolutionary Movement (PERM) convinced him that the Permanent Emergency had been a ruse to restrict freedom under the banner of revolution. From then on, he was too suspicious of all forms of authority to belong to any organization for long, though he did support the Revolutionary Organization of Transformational Sexuality (ROOTS), because they also wanted to overthrow PERM. Mike claimed he could not rest while PERM ruled. Kevin thought it was unlikely that his uncle could rest, period-thus he was not terribly surprised by this unannounced visit.

Unconcerned with social forms, Mike showed no interest in air kisses or any other part of the traditional welcome ("Not really a guest here, am I?" he had said once, "and besides, I get enough of that as it is." It was certainly true enough, he never lacked for attention of any kind, as far as Kevin could tell). But Mike could hardly resist the opportunity to tease: "Couple of tasty morsels, you are!"

Jules reached for him, but Mike only laughed. "Sorry to interrupt, but I just heard there's a big demo tomorrow, you must both come along. We've got to support ROOTS, or we'll be stuck with PERM forever. Promise me you'll be there and I'll leave you to enjoy yourselves."

"But Uncle, politics are banned, as you well know. How can we go to a demonstration?"

"Kevin, how many times do I have to tell you: Politics cannot be banned. That is why we have to demonstrate, to remind PERM that freedom is ours because we take it, not because they grant it. Whether you agree with the opposition or not, at least they continue to speak out against this ridiculous Permanent Emergency."

"I'll be there," Jules put in quietly. "What time? At the Spiral Ground, as usual?"

Kevin thought about politics only when Mike made him, and tended to take for granted that no one else would either, given the choice, so he was surprised at this new side of Jules.

"Spiral Ground, at noon," Mike replied.

"Your uncle Mike is very persuasive," Jules smiled at Kevin, who felt his dick throb in response.

"Well," boomed Mike, "You boys have a nice evening, I have to see a few more people before my bath and massage. Those boys take me to their house now, say they simply cannot work at the bathhouse with everyone trying to talk to me the whole time."

"Now I believe we were still saying Hello," Jules purred, as Mike rolled out chuckling.



A meeting of a different kind was taking place that night, in a lovely old house on the far edge of town. The house sat next to an overgrown park where few people would have reason to go except to attend this gathering. The central room, uncluttered and airy, became quite cozy when the group filled it, as they did tonight for yet another conciousness-raising discussion.

"Opposition is the theory, we are the practice! Gender is a prison of our own making. We must break down these rigid categories and define our own realities…"

"Oh really, Charlotte, if you would stop stringing slogans together for a moment, we might at least discuss our own realities, and perhaps that might enable us to define them later," Louise broke in, and realizing she hadn't only been thinking, but had said it out loud, she added, "I know you mean well…"

"But Louise is right, we have to think, not just comfort ourselves with formulas praising our vanguard status." Though keen to avoid distracting personality clashes, Bernard felt very strongly that they were there to explore ideas, not make speeches.

The working group of TIPS—the Transformational Intersexual Progressive Society, though even the members tended to think of it as Trannies in Perpetual Struggle— devoted its meetings to imagining the greater possibilities for freedom once they had shaken off the repressive Permanent Emergency of the PERM regime. Although the real work of TIPS could hardly begin until ROOTS brought the hated perpetual emergency to an end, the members of TIPS came together because they believed they had to start thinking beyond opposition and discover the full range of freedom, or risk settling for too little not only now but even after the PERM collapsed.

Bernard usually enjoyed the meetings, but tonight he wondered if what they were doing truly mattered. Was the group really going to expand freedom by questioning the sex-gender system, as they claimed? Tonight it seemed as if they would never do anything besides talk. Maybe that was only because the member who had drawn him into the group in the first place was absent from the meeting. Knowing that the energy radiating from that one individual bound him to the group even more than the excitement of talking about freedom, Bernard could not help wondering how many other members of TIPS were present because of that same person.

His thoughts drifted happily to the day he set eyes on that beautiful figure for the first time. His eccentric but persuasive neighbor Mike had dragged him along to an anti-Emergency demonstration, explaining the importance of ROOTS, the organization calling the demo, all the way there:

"They were the ones who transformed the world, you know," Mike told Bernard, "and while they were busy saving us all, those who are always sure that what they decide is best for everyone formed PERM and took over, and we've been trying to get out from under their control every since! As I often tell my nephew—very smart in his own way, but not very sophisticated politically, in spite of all my efforts to expand his horizons—it is wrong for us to enjoy the comforts of freedom until that freedom is fully won, we all have to do our part to complete the struggle begun by those heroic pioneers…"

If he could have gotten a word in edgewise, Bernard might have asked about what to expect when they got to the demonstration, since the only large gathering he had ever been to was a ritual dance put on by the Fraternal Order of Faeries (FOOF). As soon as they arrived, a gaggle of youths recognized Mike and rushed over to greet him. Bernard stopped to take in the crowd filling the great Spiral Ground, and his eyes fell on a person so attractive, he simply could not look at anyone or anything else. When Mike's new entourage swept him off into the thick of things, Bernard was glad to be left alone to let his feet follow his gaze. Although too shy to introduce himself, he did get close enough to hear someone say the man's name: Jules.

© 2005 Seamus Lester Hussey
Header design by Tom Metz


Read Episode III of
The Professor of History
in the September issue of BENT


Don't wait.
Let us know what you think of this BENT feature.


Seamus Lester Hussey, who admits to suffering from far too much education and far too many ideas, has been pondering the transformative power of fiction. He assures you, dear reader, that if you are not careful, the inhabitants of the future will take over your life, they way they have already taken over his.



BENT: A Journal of CripGay Voices/July 2005