PANACHE REPORT ORIGINAL

This story is a work of fiction, the product of the author's imagination, any similarities to people or events is purely coincidental.

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Introduction:

My name is Ricky Gordon, I am a senior in high school and an All-American running back for Robinson High in Berkeley, CA.  I am considered the best high school running back in the country.   I am also a point guard on the basketball team.  I have letters for each sport.  College scouts from all over the country are trying to recruit me for their football or basketball programs.

I harbor a dark secret.  I am on the downlow.  Ever since I was a little boy, I found myself attracted to men. When I used to leaf through magazines, I was drawn to the male models in the advertisements instead of the female models.

The only person who knows my secret is my childhood friend and teammate Grier.   He doesn’t have a problem with it because he is also on the downlow.  I found out about Grier by accident, I went under his bed to pull out some weights, imagine my surprise when I pulled out a stack of gay porn magazines.

Grier says, we are really not gay because we have beautiful girlfriends and we just use men for sex.  I don’t know if I buy this explanation because I am totally attracted to men.  Although I care for my girlfriend, I could never love her like I would love a man. It is so much pressure on men, especially popular men, to be surrounded by beautiful women.  I could lose future scholarships and future endorsements if my sexuality was known, it would be career suicide.

"DOWNLOW: BASED IN SAN FRANCISCO"

45 seconds left in the game, Robinson High has the ball, trailing by 3 points.  They are out of field goal range.  The hand-off is to All-American, Ricky Gordon, he hits the hole fast, evading tackles and running over linemen, he’s at the 30, 20, 10, Touchdown!! Robinson High wins the State Championship.  Gordon is hoisted on the shoulders of his teammates as they celebrate on the field.

Later that evening, Ricky’s teammate and best friend Grier hosted a party since his parents were on a cruise.   Ricky arrived with his girlfriend, head cheerleader and beauty queen, Porsche Anderson.  Ricky and Porsche were also the Homecoming King and Queen.  They were treated like royalty, Ricky resembled a Black Greek God and Porsche resembled a Black Goddess.  Everyone congratulated Ricky on his touchdown run.

Porsche took to the dance floor with her fellow cheerleaders, they did a mean routine to a couple of Usher tunes.  Everyone gathered around to cheer them on.  All of the men were lusting after Porsche, as she did her sexy cheerleader/dance moves.

After the party ended, Grier and his girlfriend Francessca (Porsche’s best friend) joined Ricky and Porsche for breakfast at an 24-hour diner.

The guys talked football and the girls talked makeup and fashion.  After breakfast, the guys told the girls, we’re going to play billiards, Porsche said, at 3 a.m. in the morning? Ricky shot Grier a nervous glance and said, we know a place on University Avenue that stays open all night.  Francessca spoke up, you better not be cheating on us because we will find out, Ricky smiled and said, both of you know better than that.

After they dropped the girls off, they went to a park in Berkeley, despite the late hour, the park was jammed with cars.  Grier saw two males lingering, he motioned for both of them to come over to the car.  After small talk, both men got in the backseat.   Grier turned to Ricky in the front seat and said, let the real celebration begin!

They arrived at Grier’s house. They watched videos and played cards.  After a few beers, Ricky started groping one of the guys and Grier was openly kissing the other guy.   Ricky took his guy into a bedroom downstairs while Grier went upstairs with his date.  Ricky was so caught up in the moment, he didn’t use a condom, he hated condoms; he liked raw sex.

The next morning, after the guys left, Ricky and Grier went to the post office where Ricky had a discreet P.O. Box. Ricky got his mail and returned to the car.  He ripped opened a package containing gay porn magazines.  He and Grier spent the next thirty minutes lusting over the male centerfolds.

Later that evening, they went out for pizza with their girlfriends.  After pizza, Porsche and Ricky went to a hotel.  Despite her beauty, Porsche always had to initiate the first move, Ricky was the only man she had been with who seemed disinterested in sex, he barely achieved an erection.  He acted like it was a chore to have sex with her.  When she asked him about it, he denied her accusations.

Grier and Francessca had an active sex life, Grier had a strong sex drive and he was constantly pestering Francessca for sex.

At school on Monday, Ricky was treated like the BMOC (Big Man On Campus) as he strutted around in his lettered jacket.  Later in the day, the votes were tallied, Ricky was voted the most handsome and most popular guy on campus, Porsche was voted most beautiful and most popular female on campus.  They were the golden couple.

Kenny was an openly gay student at the same high school. The jocks teased him relentlessly.  Grier was especially cruel.  Later that day, Grier and Ricky encountered Kenny in an isolated stairwell.  Grier started winking at him and Ricky grabbed his ass.  Kenny pushed them away and kept walking.

Later that day, Kenny ran into Porsche and Francessca, he told them, your boyfriends are not the men they pretend to be.  Porsche demanded to know, what he meant?  Don’t be disrespecting our men.  Kenny didn’t answer.  Francessca said, ignore him, he just mad they ain’t gay, he wish he could pull men like that, he hatin.  As Kenny walked away, he thought to himself, I just don’t understand, the entire student body knows I’m HIV-positive yet Grier has propositioned me on several occasions for sex.  From the reactions of Porsche and Francessca, he rationalized, it’s best to keep my mouth shut, no one believes a gay teen over a popular jock.

After school, Ricky and Grier drove up to Pleasanton to see their girlfriends compete in the National Cheerleading championships. They won.

They all returned to Berkeley and went shopping at the boutiques on Telegraph Avenue, across from the U.C. Berkeley campus. Afterwards, they went to a burger joint. Porsche informed everyone that her cousin Brian was relocating to Berkeley from Mississippi, he was arriving over the weekend.  He was moving to the bay area because San Francisco was more tolerate of homosexuals, Brian was gay.

Grier said, keep that fag away from us. Porsche shot Grier a mean look and asked him to never refer to Brian as a fag in her presence.  She got up and stormed out, Ricky followed.   Later, Grier called Porsche on her cell phone and apologized, she accepted his apology.

Brian arrived in the bay area, with the money he had saved, he moved into an apartment in the Castro district.   Brian had kept in touch with a few San Francisco gay men he had met over the Internet while he lived in Mississippi.  His first night in town, he went out with his Internet buddies Ken and Matt. He loved the gay friendly attitude of San Francisco.

Brian loved to gossip, during the day, he and Porsche kept the phone lines busy gossiping about various celebrities they had crushes on.  Porsche also told Brian about how fine her boyfriend was, Brian said, I don’t think you have ever told me his name, you always refer to him as my ‘fine man,’ and you told me he was a famous high school football player; but you have never told me his name, what is his name?  Before Porsche could answer, the other line beeped and Porsche got off the phone with Brian.

Over the next few weeks, Brian got a job at an Adult Gay Bookstore in San Francisco.  Before long, he was a permanent fixture on the gay scene.

Meanwhile, across town, Ricky and Grier were visiting their favorite gay website.  This website allowed gay men to shade their city and state, you would post a message requesting sex in your area and then you would wait for responses.  Ricky and Grier sifted through the responses and chose two men they agreed to meet at a local hotel.

The next day, they drove up to Reno for football camp. Ricky and Grier’s gaydar’s went off when they met a couple of players.  They traded numbers.  Their downlow circle was expanding.

When they returned to the bay area, Ricky talked Grier into giving a discreet downlow party, they would invite the football players they met and hire some male escorts.

It was Friday night. Brian got off work and met up with Nate and Matt. That evening, both men told Brian that they were male escorts.  They were booked for a party but Nate couldn’t make it because of a family emergency, would Brian be willing to go in his place, he would be paid $200 plus tips, Brian eagerly agreed.

Brian and Matt arrived at the party in Berkeley.  The two guys giving the party were gorgeous, with tight bodies.  The one they called Ricky left and returned with pizzas, hot wings and cases of beers.

The doorbell rung, two more guys arrived with ecstasy. Grier put in a gay porn tape.  The guys passed out the ecstasy and the mood changed. Ricky asked Brian and Matt to do a strip tease.

They got up, they began dancing suggestively, the guys cheered them on as they took off their shirts and unzipped their pants. Before they could finish, Ricky grabbed Brian and Grier led Matt into a bedroom.  The ecstasy had such an effect on Ricky, he felt invincible and didn’t use a condom again, after sex with Brian, he and Grier traded partners, Ricky ended up having sex with Matt as well.  The other two guys never came out of the downstairs bedroom.

The next morning, Ricky offered to give Brian and Matt a ride into San Francisco since he was headed that way.   He dropped Matt off first, Brian asked him to drop him off at his job.

Ricky had never been in a 24-hour adult gay bookstore, he went in the back, there were holes drilled into the bathroom stall walls, on the side.  While Brian was behind the cash register out front. Ricky unzipped his pants, took out his penis and put it through one of the holes.  Someone anonymously on the other side of the wall, sucked him off.

Ricky met Porsche for lunch and told her that he had decided to accept a full football scholarship to a college in Berkeley, he wanted to be near her and his family, Grier also received a full scholarship to the same college.  When she suggested they spend some private time together because her parents were gone for the weekend, he changed the subject, mumbled that he had somewhere to be and left, he forgot his keys.  Just then, the phone rung, it was Brian, Porsche and Brian agreed to meet up in an hour.

She met up with Brian at Lake Merritt in Oakland.  As soon as Brian arrived, Porsche’s cell phone rung, it was Ricky, he asked her is she had his keys, she said yes, she told him that she was at the lake.  He said he would meet her there.

Porsche and Brian walked to a deli and got some chicken and potato salad and brought it back to the lake to eat.  They were gossiping and eating when Ricky arrived.  Brian noticed him first and said goddamn, what is he doing here, is he stalking me? Porsche asked, what are you talking about?  Brian said, he had my ass last night, him and some other dude gave a downlow party.

Porsche turned pale and shouted, stop lying.  Brian said, isn’t his name Ricky and doesn’t he have a birthmark just above his pubic hair, how the hell would I know that if I was lying?  The pit of her stomach sunk Porsche stood up and said, Ricky is my boyfriend. Brian was shocked.

Ricky recognized Brian and stopped in his tracks, Porsche was frantic, she ran up to Ricky and slapped him, she told him, that’s my cousin over there, he told me everything.   She called Ricky all kind of faggots and sexual deviants.  Ricky tried to deny the accusations but Porsche could tell he was lying.  Suddenly he grabbed her by the hand and led her to an isolated area of the lake. Meanwhile, Brian hailed a cab and left.

Ricky said, please listen. Yes, I admit it, I am gay, always have been, I care for you and love you as a friend but I could never be in love with you.  Porsche started crying and started screaming, you lying bastard, you could have infected me with AIDS, he wiped her tears and said, no, you always insisted I use a condom with you and our sex life was never really active.

Listen, I am going to make this up to you. If you keep my secret, I will make you a NFL wife.  I will bestow riches on you, you will never have to work and you can have a man on the side to satisfy you sexually, we don’t ever have to sleep together again.  Think about it.

If you say yes, make sure your cousin doesn’t reveal my secret to anyone.  Porsche looked at him incredulously without responding, instead, she asked, I want to know one thing, is Grier also on the downlow?  Ricky looked away, Porsche said, I have to tell Francessca, Ricky said, do it in an indirect way.

Later that evening, Francessca received an email sent via an anonymous remailer (the recipient can’t tell who sent the email).  The email advised Francessca to get tested for the HIV virus.  She was shaken after she read the email, what was this email implying? She would make an appointment for a HIV test.  She tested negative.  She considered the email a cruel hoax.  She never mentioned it to Grier.

All evening, Ricky was edgy and jumpy.  He jumped in his car and went to San Francisco.  He parked his car in an alley, next to the bookstore.

Brian got off work late, it was dark and raining, the street was deserted.  Ricky was there to confront him.

Brian said, man, stay away from me, you have ruined my relationship with my cousin.  I can’t stand you downlow brothas, always denying what you are.  Get the fuck away from me.

Ricky forced him into the alley and said, I am only here for one reason, promise me that you will not reveal my secret to anyone else, I have too much to lose.  Brian said, fuck you! Haven’t you caused enough hurt with your secrets and if you infected Porsche, you won’t have to wait for AIDS to kill you because I will personally kill your black lying ass.

Ricky snapped and hit him in the face, Brian punched him hard in the stomach, Ricky became angry and took out a pocket-knife and began stabbing him until he stopped breathing.

Ricky left Brian, ran to his car and sped off, he was a nervous wreck, thinking, oh god, what have I done, I have killed a man.  He looked in his rearview mirror during the whole ride home.

The next day, Ricky was nervous and looking out the window, expecting the police to arrive, they never did.

That evening, Porsche called, she was crying, the police had found Brian, stabbed to death in an alley next to his job.  No witnesses or suspects.  The cops are classifying the killing as a gay slaying and they don’t seem too interested in solving the murder.  Ricky told her, I’m on my way over.

Ricky arrived and gave his condolences.  He took Porsche out to dinner, he was very caring and attentive.

Ricky accompanied Porsche to Brian’s funeral.  Afterwards, he and Grier went to a gay bathhouse in Berkeley.

The summer was underway. Ricky and Grier underwent a conditioning program to stay in shape.  They wanted to be in top form when they reported to college training camp.

Six months was up, time to get tested. Ricky knew the routine.  Blood was drawn.  He would get his results in two weeks.

Two weeks later, he returned to get his results.  Went into a conference room with a doctor.  This time the results were different, Ricky was positive.  He was devastated.

He shut himself off from the world.  No one could get in touch with him until Porsche and Grier ambushed him.

They wanted to know what was wrong, he tried to brush them off, they refused to leave, he finally confided in them, he was HIV positive.  Porsche started crying and saying, oh my god, over and over.  Grier was speechless.

Ricky urged Porsche to get tested, he informed Grier that his football career was over, he wouldn’t be attending college, he planned to inform the coaches at the end of the week, he would make up some excuse.

Before they left, he asked them not to reveal his status to anyone, they nodded in agreement.  When Porsche and Grier got outside, Grier said, you seemed devastated in there, which is expected, but you didn’t seem shocked?  Porsche said, because I knew, just like I know about your downlow ass.  Grier was stunned, Porsche continued, why don’t you stop leading Francessca on if you like men. Grier told her, you don’t understand, I’m not really gay and stay out of my business and you better not mention anything to Francessca, if you do, I will let everyone know about Ricky’s status and everyone will assume you are infected and stop associating with you.  Porsche slapped him and said, you sick no good bastard, don’t ever come near me again.

Grier lied and told Francessca that Porsche came on to him, Francessca believed him and stopped associating with Porsche.

Porsche tested negative and Grier distanced himself from Ricky.  Although Porsche called Ricky periodically to check on him, she never visited him again.

Grier went to college and made a name for himself on the gridiron.  He was one of the top receivers in the collegiate ranks.  Ricky enjoyed reading about him but he was hurt that Grier wouldn’t return his calls.

Grier was drafted in the first round.

Meanwhile, Ricky relocated to Sacramento.  He gained weight, guzzled beer all day and worked in a warehouse at night.  While surfing the Internet, he came across a disturbing trend called barebacking.

Barebacking is a subculture of HIV-positive gay men who have sex with HIV-negative gay men.  These thrill seeking negative men ‘try to get infected’ by the positive gay men, they love playing Russian roulette with their lives.  Ricky read a “Rolling Stone” article which claimed, the men seeking HIV infection consider the virus “liquid gold.”  This intrigued Ricky.

Ricky noticed, there were a few barebacking chapters scattered across the country, one was in San Francisco, Ricky planned to attend the next function.

Ricky arrived at the barebacking event.  Numerous men were lined up to sleep with him after they found out his HIV-positive status. He missed this type of affection since he had tested positive.  He happily indulged.

Ricky became a regular at these events.  He didn’t know how many men he infected but they didn’t seem to care, they considered him a “gift giver.”

At each event, more and more men came out.  After one event, Ricky returned home depressed and asked himself.   What kind of life am I leading?  I killed a man but am too much of a coward to turn myself in, I feel like a mass murderer when I return home from the barebacking parties and I take up to twenty pills a day to control this virus.

Ricky finished off a full six-pack, he staggered to his desk and pulled out a 9mm, he closed his eyes tight and pointed the gun at his head, he slowly pulled the trigger.  He died instantly.

His death made national headlines.

Grier read about Ricky’s death, he sadly laid down the newspaper and leaned over and kissed his male lover.

While his lover was taking a shower, Grier took out his cell phone and called his wife Francessca.  Darling, I am running late.  When I arrive home, I will take you and the baby out to dinner.  I love you.

By: Myra Panache

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