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Cole Parker

Dance of the Wicked Boys

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It's a trifle cold-blooded but... the genetic background to the survival of guys like Elton John is interesting.

While the survival rate among closed communities like the dancers in New York was appallingly low, the survival rate amongst those of european descent is and was much higher than those of black-african descent.

Apparently this is due to a human genetic mutation CCR5-delta 32 , see

http://genetics.thetech.org/ask/ask10

This mutation confers protection (one copy) or immunity (two copies) to HIV today, but significantly to smallpox and other diseases in earlier centuries. My understanding is that europe has been ravaged by major epidemics (perhaps the Black Death 14C, but certainly smallpox) many times. So that we of european descent have ancestors that survived smallpox or were naturally resistant to it. With each winnowing the proportion of the population with protection increased. In those populations with no similar history, particularly of smallpox, the HIV survival rate is much lower... black-Africa today.

I came across this story in the village museum in Eyam, Derbyshire UK. The people of Eyam have an unusually high incidence of this mutation, which may, or may not result from events in the village in 1665.

In 1665 plague visited their village and after the first death the church leaders persuaded the villagers to voluntarily isolate themselves. Two years later the isolation still held, but three quarters of them were dead... the outbreak had not spread beyond the village... a sacrifice that is commemorated by an annual church service still. It's an appalling story that deserves to be better known. Here is a link to the village museum site.

http://www.tripadvis...re_England.html

At the bottom right of the photo of the church there is a link to photographs, many are the plaques outside each cottage, listing those who died ... be impressed and be appalled... people in terrible circumstances can behave quite remarkably well.

If you find yourself in the UK a visit to this village can be a sobering and uplifting experience.

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Marvellous story. As a ballet lover from the first time I saw Swan Lake on stage at the age of 16, I knew that if I had not been born with a heart defect I would have been a dancer. Even so I remember jumping all over my parents furniture as a child, leaping in time to the classical music on the radio. My parents thought I was being silly and said that if was interested in dance they would teach me ballroom dancing. I was horrified. Yikes!

Anyway to Free Thinkers story, I was completely captivated and drawn into the characterisations. Yes, I tend to agree with Pec that I would have preferred the boys to have been a little older; 16 and 14 would have worked better for me, as that is closer to my own encounters.

Uncle Teddy is a delight; Elmer Gantry and Oliver Twist in the same sentence is something I never expected. to see.

It's the character development which I love, and I really admire the accuracy of the psychology as well as the amount of work that went into the research.

The sex I'm not so keen on, probably that's just me but it is well written.

As for a sequel, that's up to FT.

Overall the story made me want to dance and love.

A fine work, worthy of the praise it has received.

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It's interesting how experiences differ. Des says 14 to 16 would better match his experience. My situation was very different. We weren't in love... we were kids being naughty, playing with newly discovered toys. The result was that it was a childish thing that started at 12 peaked at 14 and was virtually disappeared by 16. We simply, in the 1950s, had no role models for homo-sex after 16. For homosexuals in that period the choice was between extreme risk (see a separate thread about Australian elderly mens' unspent convictions) and ... nothing... loneliness... isolation. The changes over my lifetime have been immense.

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Once again, thank you everyone for your kind comments. I can't express how much I appreciate them

Regarding the age issue, there are specific reasons for the difference in their ages. Jeremy has to be twelve and Rafael has to be at least fifteen. First. boys at the great ballet schools such as School of American Ballet--the premier ballet school in the United States-- begin their professional training at the age of twelve. They may go through several years of pre-professional training and this usually starts at seven or even younger. Jeremy was inspired to enter dance training by watching Rafael perform in Nutcracker. Rafael had to be still in Greensburg at the time, thus he couldn't be older than eleven at the time. Plus, Jeremy needed a few years of pre-professional training before entering professional training at a major school like the fictional Ballet Academy of America. Besides, kids in these environments are more worldly (even in 1970) than kids outside the dance world. Though they may not act more worldly, they are certainly exposed to and witness more than the average twelve year-old.

Once again, thank you for your compliments. I worked for more than a year on this and I am grateful for your support.

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Hey, Jedi Knights were supposed to begin their training at 6, but Luke Skywalker did OK starting at 18 (despite Yoda saying "he's too old to begin the training!"). Just sayin'... Sometimes, rules can be broken.

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I agree about the early age for enrolment in ballet. Some believe the earlier the better. My desire for a maturer age for the romance was what I was referencing, but I am sure that the story emulated real life in that regard too, so I accept that deep feelings can and do surface earlier in some, than in others. As far as music and talent goes, we are dealing with two very advanced, gifted, and enthusiastic prodigies, so I am certain that like Mozart they are capable of knowing the emotions of the music of life, to which they dance.

With the above understandings now awakened in me, I concur with the original age selection.

After all, my mother told me that rather than kick her, I danced in the womb. Who knows what I would have got up to, had I been twin boys.

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Des, I'm surprised you'd find it strange that deep romantic feelings can arise at an early age. What was Jeremy, 11? I think so. That's fifth or sixth grade. I can still remember the ardent feelings I had for a boy in fifth grade, and for another in the 6th. I don't think I've ever had stronger crushes in my life than those two. Sure, they might not have the depth of the feelings of love you have later in life, but man, do they ever do a number on you at the time. For Jeremy to have the hots for Rafe beginning at 8, and lasting, isn't surprising at all, to me.

C

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This story was very personal for me because I have always loved dance. I was mesmerized by watching Nureyev and Fonteyne on Ed Sullivan. and the first time I ever watched The Nutcracker was in 1965 or 66 when NYCB performed the Ballanchine on CBS. (I saw it in black and white, so you know how old I am). My parents would ask me to quit dancing around the house. I was too much of a conformist and a coward to insist, as Jeremy did, that I train. The closest I came was when I was eleven and joined a Boy Scout troop in the small Kansas town in which we lived. Our Scoutmaster was Cherokee and taught us various Cherokee dances. We had to make our own authentic Cherokee costumes, beadwork, feather work, everything as authentic as possible. To this day 44 years later, I can still do the Feather Dance, which is no small feat for a man with bad knees- (years of abusing my knees-but I won't go into that!). In most of my stories, there are scenes where the boys dance and that comes from my love of dancing. So, I spent most of my adult life going to the ballet here in my city and dreaming of what might have been. I dated a few dancers, lost a good friend who was a dancer to HIV, and pushed it all to the back of my mind.

I read a story by Ganymede (the title of which I won't say for fear of re-igniting the debate over age from last June) about a Ukrainian boy who enters ballet school in New York. It was a beautiful story and it tore at my heart. The original version of this story was written as a result of that experience in the fall of 2011. It has gone through five major revisions and rewrites until it ended up in this form, significantly transformed from what it was to have been. Still, this story is a fantasy of what might have been if I had displayed more backbone as a boy. I love to dance, though I don't get to much anymore and I love to dream about what might have been.

And, though this story isn't the one I originally wanted to write, I am still profoundly grateful for all the compliments and support. Thank you.

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Cole, it is not in my experience nor in my reading on psychology and the human condition that I am led to believe that romantic attachments which exist prior to puberty are not later displaced by more significant and deeper relationships. I guess I outgrew my boyhood fixations almost as fast as I made them. I don't deny that puppy-love happened for me, but I was very much aware that they were what they were.

Certainly, deeper and very romantic attachments occurred in my late teens and early twenties, and I would be leading myself astray if I said that anything before them was in way as significant as they were.

How we remember our early experience may well shape our lives and relationships, but for me the early ones were not as significant as the later ones I developed after puberty.

I've had crushes on many guys in my life, even some that I have no chance of ever meeting, but they do not compete with my memories, they only add to them.

I'm not saying that early strong attachments don't happen, just that later ones have been more significant for me. It may well be that lack of a father figure in my life precluded me from having deep feelings for kids my own age. I'll have to go into self-hypnotic meditation to find the answers to that one. Might be good for a story.

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Des, I'm surprised you'd find it strange that deep romantic feelings can arise at an early age. What was Jeremy, 11? I think so. That's fifth or sixth grade. I can still remember the ardent feelings I had for a boy in fifth grade, and for another in the 6th. I don't think I've ever had stronger crushes in my life than those two.

Yes, I think Cole raises a good point. I can certainly remember some very intense crushes -- love, lust, and probably both -- when I was 12 or 13, right before the time of this story. At least two or three of them were probably the most memorable of my life, some requited, some not. I think it's fair to say it depends on the person, the times, and the nature of the experience.

I have no doubt that two boys at the ages F.T. depicts in the story could have an affair this intense. I didn't doubt the sex or the attraction; I was kinda iffy on the sophistication of their response. But it's possible enough that I can suspend my disbelief enough to thoroughly enjoy the story -- which is the mark of a fine writer. As I always say, if I'm still thinking about a story three days after I read it, then it's already better than 90% of the stuff I read. The fact that we're debating what would happen in a sequel is even higher praise.

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GEEBUS! I started this yesterday. There is nothing to dislike about it. It reminded me of "The Scrolls Of Icaria" with the dance scenes. It's been a ride thus far and I'm only on chapter 5.

Back to reading, it's hard to put down.

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I don't want to give a spoiler, but remember that my stories always have a happy ending. It might be tough to get there, but it will work out. I admit that the final three chapters were, however, the most difficult for me to write. One more chapter to go.

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