Sunday, April 15, 2012

His Brother's Keeper


Rick Tulane
Trojan Classics/GX Inc., 1977? (undated)

Today's word is "twincest," the subject of this good-natured – in fact, positively breezy (breezy, not sleazy) -- novel about 16-year-old twins Barry and Gary, separated when they were barely a year old and raised on opposite coasts. Each is vaguely aware that he has a brother he's never met, but neither has any idea he's a twin. What happens when they finally meet is a riff on the subtly (all right, none-too subtly) salacious observation that gay couples often look sufficiently alike to be brothers.

Surfer-boy Barry Richards lives in Laguna Beach with his hunky dad, Kyle, wonderful stepmother, Mirium, and cute, 14-year-old half-brother, Kirk. Barry is a good kid who has plenty of friends and isn't prone to serious trouble – Mirium and Kyle can barely keep a straight face when they have to give him a talking to after a silly prank involving masturbation on a surfboard within full view of a public beach. Of course, Kyle and Mirium have no idea that Barry's started fooling around with other boys, including his best pal Billy and not-so-little Kirk who, believe me, didn't have to be asked twice.

But they're not hopelessly lax parents, either: After Barry gets caught at a pot party, Kyle pulls some strings without letting his son entirely off the hook. Barry won't have to be remanded to the juvenile authorities (thank goodness the chief of police is a pal!), but he will have to spend his summer vacation at Nevada's Mark Faire Summer Academy for Boys. On the plus side (make that the other plus side, since the whole thing is shaping up to be a win-win), Kyle is willing to let Kirk go along – he and Mirium couldn't be more delighted that their sons are so close.

Meanwhile, in Manhattan, Barry's brother Gary is getting into his own scrape. His puritanical stepfather, Tony, catches Gary and his tall, dark and handsome stepbrother, Ashley, going at it great guns and reacts, shall we say, badly… so badly that he has a stroke and nearly dies. Nearly, but not quite, and when he recovers sufficiently to tell Gary's mom, Nan, what he saw, well, that's the end of Gary and Ashley's smoking hot summer plans. Worse still, 18-year-old Ashley tries to paint Gary as the natural-born fag and himself as the chump who just went along for the ride. Bitch.

The upshot: Ashley packs his bag and hits the road, while Gary gets packed off to, yes, the Mark Faire Summer Academy for Boys to straighten out his head. The thing is, it really isn't a good place for anyone to get anything straightened out. But for gay teens looking to get some below-the-belt action in between swimming, horseback riding and other wholesome fun in the sun, well, it's just about perfect. And for Gary and Barry (plus sweetly precocious Kirk, who's determined not to miss out on what the "big boys" are getting up to), it's sheer, unadulterated nirvana.

It doesn't take long for the twins to find each other; after all, aach is stunning and together they're heart stoppers… it doesn't take long for word to get around about dreamboats like that, especially dreamboats with 11-inch cocks and fewer inhibitions (not to mention sweeter temperaments) than the average Tijuana whore. It's head-over heels love at first sight for the boys, and yet they're still sufficiently considerate to keep Kirk looked after and make sure Kirk's new little friend, Roger Wentworth, isn't left out in the cold. My God, these boys are shining saints in some heaven of gentle, all-inclusive, guilt-free underage fucking and sucking. And the minute meet they vow that they'll never, ever again let anyone separate them.

The story's only complications, such as they are, come straight from the Hayley Mills playbook: Before Barry and so each can get to know the parent he doesn't, which works out fabulously for Gary – Kyle needs little persuasion to succumb to his hotsie-totsy son's advances – while a few hours with the homophobic Tony and high-strung Nan make it clear to Barry that there's no place like home…. his laid-back SoCal home.

To recap, it's all so wrong and yet it feels so right, because there isn't a mean bone in His Brother's Keeper's body. No one is heart-broken, shamed, cast out or tarred with the white-hot humiliation of sexual self-doubt. Not only are Barry, Gary and Kirk nice kids with healthy, benevolent libidos, but they're surrounded by horny-yet-sympatico adults perpetually prepared to share their hard-earned experience but always careful not to pressure or coerce their teen charges into anything for which their unprepared.
As sexed-up, fundamentally verboten fantasies go , His Brother's Keeper is astonishingly sweet, driven by the promise that doing lewd things doesn’t have to put you on the express ramp to hell. What matters, it suggests, is how you do those things you do, and that entering the garden of earthly delights with a fundamentally generous spirit and unsoiled mind is the key to walking out unsoiled and with head held high.

This may all sound mighty airy fairy, but step back and have a think on this. What is it that separates filthy smut from classy erotica? The answer is nothing more or less than tone… it's less what your characters do than how they do it, and Rick Tulane's trampy teens rush in guided by open-hearted curiosity and knee-jerk mutual respect: They’re game for anything, including folks who aren't quite as game as they are. So in the end, what can you say but 'God love 'em?'

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