Previously, on Space Ship Boys:

EV5997 has docked with EV1985, a ship from Orange County. For several weeks, the other ship will be exchanging resources with the boys’ vessel. In conjunction with this, Conner had procured a pass to take both Devon and Zane over to the other ship for a couple of days.

There, they assist him with his work cataloguing the other ship’s medical resource inventory. Conner discovers something disturbing – mass quantities of a pharmaceutical called Aderalan are listed to be moved over to EV5997, and he doesn’t understand why. He and Devon instantly recall the same sort of issue with Zupertol on their ship. Are the two connected? And if so – how?

Putting this out of their minds temporarily, Conner, Zane and Devon wake early – thanks to a screaming infant – and prepare to enjoy a free day on the other ship. Conner has a surprise planned for Devon, and as a part of this he and Zane take Devon down to the main lobby of the other vessel. Upon entering a space that is at least ten times as large as the lobby on the other ship, Devon’s jaw drop when he sees what the trio has stumbled upon.

Space Ship Boys

Chapter 20 – The Happiest Place in Space

My brain may be about to short circuit. Can a healthy seventeen year-old have an aneurism from excitement?

Having spent a really boring day cataloguing medical supplies on an overly crowded ship that I was beginning to dislike, I have to admit that I’d wondered if Conner’s surprise – something I learned about a week earlier, and something that had to do with my fast-approaching birthday – had been worth coming over here.

Entering the main lobby of the Orange County ship, my doubts about this started to erode. The space was massive, much, much larger than the lobby on our ship. Overhead, the ceiling was set to mimic a sunny day on Earth, a brilliant canvas of blue illuminating the lobby in what looked and felt like real sunshine.

“Wow,” I say, looking overhead. “This is amazing.”

When I look to Conner and Zane they’re smiling at me. “What?” I ask. I’d assumed this was the surprise, but there’s something in their expressions that makes me doubt this. “What?” I ask a second time, this time a little more defensively.

The two boys laugh, and Zane shakes his head, as though I’m missing something that should be completely obvious. In my defense, they are standing in front of me, obstructing my view of what we’re walking toward. They move to either side of me, and that’s when I almost have my aneurism.

“Wait...what?” I ask in total confusion. About a hundred meters in front of me sits a long gazebo-like structure providing shade to five turnstiles. Behind it, I can make out a flower-covered berm, and behind that the roof and clock tower of one of the most famous train stations in the history of the world.

What I’m staring at is both immensely familiar and totally out of place on a spaceship. “Is that?” I ask Conner, at a loss for words. He just smiles and shrugs.

When we get closer to the turnstiles I notice a sign sitting above the antique-looking roof. A blue castle sits atop a puffy blue cartoon cloud that is emblazoned with glittering golden letters that read: The Anaheim Preservation Society Presents... And then under that: DISNEYLAND, but in a larger, different font.

It’s hard to describe how I respond to what I’m seeing. To the casual observer I probably look a little dense, but that’s only because I’m having trouble processing what’s happening.

Conner leads us up to the turnstile, where he waves his wrist over a control panel sitting next to a happy-looking woman in Victorian-era dress. She smiles at him and says, “Looks like you have a one-day pass for three on your ticket. Are these your other two?”

“Yes they are,” Conner replies.

We’re ushered through the gate and find ourselves in one of the best known courtyards in the world. A large planter displays the smiling face of Mickey Mouse in flowers; behind that lies a hedge separating the flowerbed from what I know to be The Main Street Train Station at Disneyland, U.S.A., providing service around Walt Disney’s magic kingdom.

“I...uh...they recreated the entrance to Disneyland on the ship?” I ask, still a little confused about what’s going on.

Zane thumps my ear. “They didn’t recreate anything, silly. They moved the whole damn park here.”

I just stand there gawking, my mouth hanging open in wonder.

Conner laughs at my expression. “Wait a minute,” he says, “you didn’t know? You really didn’t know? For weeks all anyone’s talked about is the docking, and you never heard that Disneyland was over here?”

I shake my head. “I...had no idea. The whole park?”

Conner grabs me in a bear hug. “You’re so adorable when you’re clueless. Happy birthday, Devon – well, part one of your birthday.”

I giggle – my birthday is still five days away, but I have to appreciate the early super surprise present Conner has planned.

As though in a trance, I wander over to one of the two arched tunnels leading under the train tracks, somehow dubious that all of Disneyland is really here on the ship. I’m greeted with a view down Main Street, U.S.A., a giant ornamented Christmas tree sitting in the center of the plaza situated between City Hall and The Opera House. At the end of Main Street, I can see the spires of the castle rising above the trees.

“This is amazing,” I say in wonderment. “How is this even possible?”

Zane steps up beside me and gives me a firm shoulder squeeze. “I think it’s a good time to leave you guys to it. Have fun today, Dev.” And then he wanders off into the crowds, making his way down Main Street. I think about asking him to stay, but then remember that Conner really wanted to have me to himself today.

“Disney financed almost all of the costs of this ship,” Conner explains next to me. “There was a condition – Disneyland had to be preserved. You never heard about that? When I was a kid there was a plaque about it in City Hall, maybe there still is.”

I guess I’d never thought about Disneyland at the end of the Earth before. “They saved the whole thing?” I ask again, feeling a little stupid for failing to grasp the concept.

Conner laughs. “Yeah, the whole damn thing. Well, most of the other park because it was historic too, but not the water parks or the virtual park from Long Beach.”

I walk over to the cornerstone of City Hall, touching it lightly with my fingertips, as though expecting it all to be a holographic illusion. “How do you get a theme park on a space ship?” I ask.

Conner shrugs. “I don’t know, but there’s a movie about it over in the cinema.”

“So…like…it’s like a museum or something?” I’m still not quite grasping what’s going on.

My boyfriend smiles and shakes his head, clearly finding my cluelessness both amusing and endearing. “It’s not a museum, Devon,” he says. “It’s a fully functioning park. They reassembled it here, and then decided to reopen it. All the rides are running, and all the stores are open. That’s the surprise, Devy – I’m taking you to Disneyland today.”

“Ib gidgo Disneyland?” I say, my words slushy owing to a surge of excitement that is building in my chest.

“Yeah, you get to go to Disneyland,” Conner laughs.

“I get to go to Disneyland? I get to go to Disneyland?” I plow into Conner, wrapping my arms against him and pressing him up against the wall of City Hall. “We get to go to Disneyland!” My words grow louder and louder, echoing through the small courtyard to our left, where a vendor is selling pretzels. She looks up from her stand, smiling at my childish display.

“Oof!” Conner exclaims, my hug literally squeezing the breath from his chest. “Ha ha, okay, calm down!”

“No way!” I object, my eyes going wide and my veins surging with adrenaline. “The whole park is in there? Oh my god, we have to do everything. Everything! All the rides…and we have to see Toontown. Oh, and Pirates. Then we should totally, totally, totally ride The Jungle Cruise. Haha, world famouse Schweitzer Falls, named for the famous Doctor Albert Falls…that one kills me every time. Oh, then Churros and more rides and….”

“Okay, okay,” Conner cuts me off. “We can do all that – we will do all that – but we’ll never get through your list if we stand here babbling all day. We should get started…today is your day, but I was kinda hoping we could start with Space Mountain. It’s a tradition.”

I smile at my boyfriend – Space Mountain has always been my favorite, too.

What ensues is two boys dashing madly down Main Street, heading for what we both proclaim to be the greatest theme park ride of all time. After being whipped around thoroughly on Space Mountain – twice, ’cause I always need seconds – we visit some of the other Tomorrowland attractions.

“We’re such dorks,” I say to Conner while we wait in line for the Tron: Revolutions spinning rocket ship ride.

Conner laughs. “How so?”

I move forward to fill a gap in the line. “Well,” I say introspectively, “we’ve been living on a spaceship for eight months, and the first thing we do when we go to Disneyland is ride little spaceships.”

Conner laughs, appreciating the irony as much as I do.

Our day at Disneyland is a whirlwind of color and excitement. We ride the submarines; I insist on going three times so that we can see all of the variations – classic, Nemo and Adventure: Atlantis. And then I tug Conner by the arm toward it’s a small world.

“Devon – no way. No, no, no,” he laughs when I get in queue for the ride.

“What? It’s a classic,” I say.

Conner stands in line with me, but doesn’t seem convinced that we need to ride this particular ride. “it’s a small world? Really? We’re gonna have the stupid song stuck in our heads for days.”

I shrug. “I know, that’s part of the fun. Oh my god, let’s get churros after!”

Conner relents and ride the infamous children’s attraction with me, and then we do get churros. We make our way to Toon Town, which looks a little...uh...Parisian. The classic buildings are all in place the way I remember, but the Christmas decorations and costumes look undeniably European.

Conner and I wind our way through Mickey’s house, meeting the mouse himself at the end. “Mickey!” I exclaim, giving the costumed park worker a tremendous hug. Conner just shakes his head. I know it’s not really Mickey, but I can have my fantasy, can’t I?

We exit the attraction, and I’m immediately startled to see two familiar faces heading our way – one black haired green eye kid and other with blonde hair and blue eyes. One might be tempted to suggest that these two were the physical incarnations of good and evil, looking like opposites as they did, but I knew the truth – they were both just evil.

“This can’t be good,” I say, nudging Conner and then pointing the approaching scrubs out to him.

“Hey Devon!” Jason Castello chimes once the two boys are within earshot.

“Uh…hi,” I reply uncertainly. “What the hell are you two doing here?”

Jason Castello and Adam Mitchell were two of the middle school-aged kids that lived on our ship. As far as I knew, neither of them were doctors, crop specialists, or any of the other positions that would have gotten them a pass to be on EV1985.

“Charlie sent us over,” Adam said. His blue eyes were wide, as though he were mesmerized by the vibrant colors around us. “Here, he sent a note.”

Adam hands me a note, along with a small bottle. The boy almost drops it, looking over my shoulder at Mickey’s house rather than me. I take the items from him, first examining the bottle. It’s full of small white pills. “What the hell?” I ask.

I open the note; on it I find a message for me in Charlie’s scrawling handwriting, which I read aloud. “I know you’ll kill me for this later, but you have to admit that you owe me one or two favors,” the note starts. Great – this isn’t going to be good. “Jason and Adam have been really good, and they both got straight A’s this term. I thought they deserved a reward. I sent them over to the other ship, telling them that you’d forgotten some medication and that it needed to be delivered to you. It should get them into the park, and I was hoping you’d let them stay the rest of the day.”

I stop reading and look up to see wide smiles on both of the boys. Ugh – the rest of the day? No way. “You two can stop smiling,” I say. “I’m sending you right back to the other ship. Charlie may not mind babysitting detail, but I do.”

“What?” Jason asks incredulously.

“Oh come on!” Adam adds.

I shake my head, determined. “Sorry guys, Charlie should have asked me first. In fact…” I trail off, accessing my wristcom and typing Charlie a short, six word message: I’m going to freaking kill you.

Seconds later, my wristcom rings, the screen stating that it’s Charlie calling. You can phone between ships? I hadn’t known that. “What?” I answer, trying to sound cold.

Charlie’s voice comes over the line; he sounds apologetic and a bit pleading. “I know, I know,” he says. “You were bound to be annoyed by that, but I thought if I told you in advance you’d refuse to watch them.”

“You were right, and I’m still going to,” I ascertain. “We’re marching them straight to the exit and sending them home.”

Charlie pauses for a moment, and I look at my com to make sure he hadn’t hung up. Then he replies, “Okay, if that’s what you want to do, but I need to tell you something – make sure they can’t hear this.”

“Oh come on, Charlie.” I’m a bit exasperated, but I gesture to Conner and the boys to stay where they are while I walk a few feet away, just in case anyone can overhear what Charlie is saying into my earpiece. “Okay, go ahead,” I say once I figure I’m a safe distance.

“The thing is,” Charlie says, sounding as thought he’s phrasing his words carefully, “Adam and Jason – How do I say this? – Adam and Jason are having a bit of a tough time with their feelings for each other.”

“Yeah, I know,” I reply. Jason and I had recently had a “heart to heart” about how he liked Adam, and how he wanted to ask him out.

Charlie continues, “You remember how it was for you – living on the ship and wanting to find someone, and how lonely it was before you and I got together, right? Think about what that would be like if you were thirteen and just hitting puberty. I know it was low to mess up your birthday surprise like this, but I’m worried about them. I thought if they had a really special first date….”

“Okay, sheesh, you win,” I exclaim, cutting him off. Appealing to my big-brotherly gay boy instincts was a good tactic on Charlie’s part – it worked. “I’ll tell you what – they can stay for a while.”

“Oh…wow…cool, Devon. I really owe you one.”

I think about my deal with Zane, and about how it wouldn’t be fair to play favorites amongst my friends. “No,” I say slyly, “you’ll owe me three – three shit details for pulling hijinks during my birthday surprise.”


I confirm this and Charlie and I strike a deal before hanging up. When the boys hear the news, they explode with adolescent hormonal hyperactivity, and I can’t say I blame them.

“But there are going to be some ground rules,” I say. Then I notice a brightly colored shop across the street. “Hey, check it out – the Toontown candy shop!” I exclaim, my attention shifting completely to the candy store, a place I remember fondly from my childhood. I lead Conner and the boys in that direction.

“But you just had a snack,” Conner says, referring to the churro I’d just barely finished. Little does he know that the order of any day at Disneyland is sugar, sugar and more sugar. There isn’t a line for the candy counter, so we walk right up. One of the attendants turns to greet us, and we recognize one another almost immediately.

“Devon! ‘Ello!” Léna exclaims, a wide smile immediately displaying her perfect teeth.

“Oh, er...hi,” I reply, taken aback at running into my new French friend this way. “Wow, what a surprise! You work here?”

She nods. “But yes...many of us Frenches we work here in zee park. It is not our only job, but it is a good side job, I think.”

“No doubt,” I agree. “I always wanted to work at Disneyland when I was a kid.”

“It is very pleasant work,” she assures me. And then she turns to Conner. “But how rude! Unless I am mistaken, zis is your boyfriend, Conner?”

Conner smiles and extends a hand. “Yeah, I’m Conner. You must be Devon’s new friend. He told me about the tour yesterday.”

Léna shrugs off Conner’s handshake with a dismissive wave. “But we do not greet friends zis way in France.” She leans over the counter and offers Conner a peck on both cheeks, causing him to turn red. “Oh, but your cheeks are adorable when zey flush!” she exclaims, making my boyfriend blush even more fiercely. Then she turns to me. “You too, Devon.”

I have no problem allowing the pretty girl to kiss me in greeting. A warm, pleasant feeling courses through my body when she does. “And what do we have here?” she asks, looking over the two scrubs, who are eyeing the beautiful French girl with a blend of curiosity and wonder. “Zey are like mini-Devon and mini-Conner! How cute!” she exclaims.

“Oh, don’t say that,” I moan, knowing that she’s somewhat right.

“I’m Jason, and this is Adam. We live on Devon’s ship. We’re on a date!” Jason proclaims. Adam blushes and looks down at the floor bashfully, where his fidgeting feet apparently hold some newfound interest for the boy.

Léna leans into the group conspiratorially, resting her elbow on the counter and placing her perfect chin upon her palm thoughtfully. In a lower voice she says, “Oh…but zis is a very big deal – zee Disneyland date. Is Adam your boyfriend?”

“Er…no,” Jason says, blushing and looking to Adam uncertainly. “This is…uh…our first date.”

“C'est merveilleux!” Léna exclaims, making the four of us jump. Then she laughs and tells us to wait while she procures a special treat in celebration of the boys’ first date.

Léna returns with a tray of chocolate eggs. “Zis is my very favorite,” she says. “Perhaps you will like them too. Dark chocolate eggs surrounding a filling of peanut butter cream.” She offers the tray to the boys, and they each take one of the candies. Then she offers it to me. “Would you like to try one, Devon?”

“I totally would!” I announce, giggling like a little kid. “Wow, this is better than a doober!” I say, taking a huge bite of the candy.

When Léna asks what a Doober is, Conner insists he be the one to explain, seeing as how my mouth is stuffed full of chocolate. He describes the pastry that had taken our ship by storm.

“Ah, how decadent,” Léna sighs. “Zis sounds a little sweet for me, but I can see how zis treat is popular.”

The scrubs wander over to the other side of the shop, where an old-fashioned taffy machine is kneading a large blue glob of candy.

“You are very sweet to take zee younger boys on a date,” Léna says, lowering her voice so that the scrubs can’t hear us talking about them.

“Yeah…I guess,” I say uncertainly. When Léna shoots me a questioning look, I explain about how Charlie tricked me into babysitting the boys. Léna smiles and tells me that Charlie sounds very wily. I think back to how he tricked Sean, Dog, Mike and Zane into the whole wank club thing the first time – yeah, I guess he is wily.

“But I think that I may have zee perfect solution,” Léna says. “My roommates and I – we all work here today, no? Zee boys, zey are so cute. Perhaps I could convince you to let my friends and I watch them? I suggest that we let them go off on their own, and then they – how do you say? – check in wiz me every once in a while.”

“I don’t know,” I say uncertainly. “We’re supposed to make sure they get back to the other ship okay, and they can be a handful.”

Léna laughs. “Yes, I am aware of zee antics of boys. I will be leaving here at midnight, perhaps you and Conner would like to enjoy your day and allow me to take zee younger boys back?

Léna’s offer is tempting. “Hey guys?” I call to the scrubs, motioning them back to the counter. They come, grabbing two more chocolate eggs apiece from Léna’s tray. I explain to them that we have an important offer to make them – they get to wander Disneyland on their own, conditioned upon them staying within the park, checking in with Léna every two hours, and letting her take them back to the space tunnel at the end of the day. I inform them that failure to meet all of those conditions will result in instant death.

The boys go super-hyper, agreeing to be perfect little angels. They assure Léna that they’ll return around one to check in with her. Then we watch as two young teenagers scream “Space Mountain, Space Mountain!” before disappearing into the park. Oh god – what have I done?

As we watch out the window, the scrubs rounding the corner toward the path leading out of Toontown, a rather perturbed looking boy enters the shop and approaches the counter, pushing Conner and me aside to address Léna.

“Léna!” he says in a voice slightly too loud for the small room. “J'ai appris que tu allais à l'immigration. Je t'ai déjà dit, que je ne partais pas sans elle. Si elle reste là, moi aussi."

I watch the yelling boy curiously. I have no idea what he’s saying, but he sure seems upset about something. Aside from that, he’s rather cute, a crown of floppy black hair lying in a tousled mess over wide-set eyes. He’s tall and somewhat thin, and appears to be about my age.

“Sebastien!” Léna says in an angry voice. “C'est vaiment pas le moment!" And then she babbles to the boy in French. It’s a beautiful language, even when spoken in anger.

The boy’s angry gaze softens as he takes what I assume to be a thorough scolding.

“What are they talking about?” I whisper to Conner.

He shrugs. “I’m not totally sure. I don’t speak French that well. He’s upset about something – maybe Léna planning a trip? They’re talking too fast.”

Sebastien takes a thorough scolding from Léna, and then he looks at us sheepishly before shooting Léna a slightly defiant glare. “Sebastien....” she says, sounding authoritative.

The boy turns to face us, looking rather perturbed and embarrassed. And then his mood suddenly shifts – he smiles, looking a bit like a chipmunk and revealing that he’s completely adorable. This may be in part because his ears are quite large, sticking out from his long face in a way that makes him seem even cuter. “Pardon!” he says, his accent very thick. This word I know.

Léna says something to the boy in French and then turns to us. “Sebastien apologizes,” she says. “He eez my brother.” She then speaks to Sebastien some more in French. I make out my name and Conner’s, so I assume she’s telling him who we are. He apologizes again and then wanders off.

“I am sorry about zat,” Léna says. “Living on zis ship has been hard for him, and he sometimes forgets his manners. I told him zat we would talk after work.”

“I always forget my manners too,” I reply, making a joke. I don’t think it translates well, Léna just returns a blank look. And then she explains that Sebastien is five years younger than her, having just turned eighteen the month before, and that he’d been visiting her in California when the evacuation occurred.

“We all loved France,” she says in a slightly sad voice, “but zee evacuation has been harder on Sebastien than most. He does not speak English, and since leaving zee Earth he refuses to learn. He has few friends, and now he eez obsessed about zis painting...but I am sorry – you do not need to hear about our family drama.”

“Don’t worry about it,” I say, trying to sound compassionate while simultaneously munching on some more candy.

We visit with Léna a bit longer before she insists we leave to enjoy our day, which we do. We catch the train to New Orleans Square, where I make Conner get me a mint julep. After downing even more sugar, we ride The Haunted Mansion, and then Splash Mountain despite Conner’s reservations about getting wet. I tell him you don’t get that wet.

“You. Are. Such. A liar!” he scolds when we exit the ride, both of us drenched. We’d rounded a corner, causing the wave our boat made to slide up the flume and then back down into our boat. Conner had taken a lapful of water. I giggle, looking at the huge wet spot on the front of his pants.

We dry off on Pirate’s Island. I challenge Conner to a round of holographic ship warfare on Battle for the Black Pearl. I let him play the pirates, who always have an easier time winning, but when we step out of the holographic simulator I’ve soundly sunk his vessel. “Too bad, so sad,” I joke, waggling my ass in victory.

And then we ride Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones and The Jungle Cruise and eat a Dole Whip and visit the Enchanted Tiki Room and eat another Dole whip and ride Big Thunder Mountain before riding Space Mountain two more times before I suggest getting an ice cream cone on Main Street.

“You’re going to explode!” Conner laughs when I suggest another treat.

“Nuh-uh,” I reply, sticking my tongue out at him.

Ice cream has, of course, been a mainstay at Disneyland since opening, a sweltering July day in 1955. Ever since, ice cream, that quintessential American dessert, has been offered at the scoop shop on Main Street. It can never be known how many happy souls have wandered through this line over the years, but certainly it has been millions and millions.

What many do not know is that there is more than one ice cream shop on Main Street. There’s the main shop attached to the bakery, which is deluged with customers all day long. And then there’s a smaller shop off an alley that’s almost always empty. This is where I take Conner.

The shop is empty, as it almost always had been when I visited before. A cute guy greets us at the counter, his white smile the perfect accent for his big brown eyes. I ask for a scoop of mint chocolate chip covered in hot fudge and a scoop of cookies and cream covered in strawberry sauce, both piled into a waffle cone that’s been dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in multi-colored sprinkles, all of this then topped with whipped cream and three cherries.

“A man who knows what he wants,” the attendant laughs as he takes my order. “I like it.”

He punches our order into the system – Conner asks for a small water, claiming sugar overload. A second worker in the back of the shop begins scooping my ice cream. While he does, I have little choice but to stare at the guy behind the counter. I mean...I know I have a boyfriend and everything, but...gah. He looks a little older than Conner or me, but not much. He has a great smile and friendly-looking face, but perhaps what I most notice are his eyes – almond-shaped and deep brown with a slight downward slant, accented by a pair of bushy brown eyebrows that make him look all at once kind, intelligent and sexy.

“So, do you come here often?” I ask, and then immediately realize what a stupid question that is. “I mean, have you worked here, long?”

The guy laughs and says he started at Disneyland as a secondary shift shortly after takeoff. A slightly awkward silence descends, but then the guy barks over his shoulder, “Oy! Cory! Where the heck is that order?”

The guy’s coworker approaches the counter carrying my ridiculous ice cream. “Sorry,” he says, “I was trying to get it just how you put it in.” He hands me my dessert, which I take rather clumsily owing to the fact that my jaw has dropped. Co-worker guy is an identical copy of order-taker guy.

“Are you guys related?” I ask, again feeling slightly lame.

The two boys look at one another, as if noticing that they’re identical for the first time. Then they look back to Conner and me, smiling. “No,” one of them says, “actually we’re not.”

“Actually, we’re not even real,” the other says.

The first immediately adds, “Yeah...we’re holograms.”

“Imaginary holograms that only exist in your imagination,” continues the second one.

“In fact, this whole shop isn’t real, and we were never here....” The first says, trailing off and making a mysterious “whooing” sound as the two ice cream boys dip behind the counter and out of view, as if they’re actually disappearing.

“Ha, ha, very funny – very droll,” I say, unable to resist laughing at the cute boys. When they don’t reappear Conner and I look at one another curiously and then over the edge of the counter – there’s no one back there. Hey! How’d they do that?

We shrug and take a seat at the one small table in the parlor. After I’ve dug into my ice cream and enjoyed a few bites of pure heaven, the first boy – er, at least I think it’s the first one – reappears, winking at me when he does.

Suddenly, the door to the shop swings violently open, startling the four of us in the shop. “You smarmy, smarmy bastards!” a familiar voice booms. Conner and I look up to see an angry-looking Zane, red in the face and puffing as though he’s just run a 10-K.

“Us? What did we....”

I’m about to say “do?” when Zane lets out a violent howl of delight and dashes for the ice cream counter. He clears it with a sound leap, landing in between the two ice cream boys.

Conner lets out a snort of laughter at the sudden appearance of Zane. “What the?” he says as our friend performs his acrobatics.

Ice cream guy steps back in defense, although he’s laughing so neither Conner nor I get too concerned. This changes slightly when Zane assaults him, grabbing him in a deft wrestling maneuver and picking the other boy up off the ground amidst a squeal of protest.

“Do you think he knows them?” I ask Conner.

Zane puts the guy down and then pulls him in close, taking the boy’s lips to his and engaging him in a passionate kiss. “They’ve probably met,” Conner replies. “Although with Zane it can be hard to tell.”

The second twin comes up behind Zane and his brother and grabs our friend around his waist. “Zane!” he exclaims joyously, spinning Zane around and taking our friend in a kiss equaled only by the one we’d just witnessed.

Few words are spoken, mostly the three guys fight for kissing dominance; Zane runs a hand up one of the boy’s shirts, revealing a strip of tan flesh and toned muscle along his waistline. I take a bite of my cone and munch on the sweet, crispy waffle, vaguely wondering if these three are going to do it right here in the ice cream shop. Based on what I’m seeing, they might.

Zane presses one of the boys down onto the counter face-first, rubbing the guy’s back vigorously and deeply as he does, coming up behind him so that, if the two boys had less clothes, Conner and I might find ourselves getting to the good part of a rated X movie. Zane looks up and seems to notice us for the first time.

“Hey Devon, hey Conner. When’d you guys get here?”

I laugh, almost snorting mint chocolate chip ice cream up my nose. “We’ve been here the whole time, doofus.” Conner says, smiling.

Zane gives the bent-over twin a firm slap on the ass and then releases him. All three boys are breathing a little hard. “Oh,” Zane says. “Sorry to be rude, then. Devon and Conner, these are my very best friends Danny and Cory Novak. Danny and Cory, this is Devon Chasen and Conner McLaglen.”

“Hello,” Conner says, somewhat shyly. I add my greeting, and Danny and Cory say hello in return.

Zane explains his raucous entrance. Having informed the twins that he’d be visiting, they’d told him that they would be working in the park all day. It seems they didn’t tell him where, exactly. Instead, upon discovering that he’d been able to procure a ticket, they’d sent our friend on a “wild goose chase,” providing false clues as to where they were, making Zane run to one end of the park and then the other trying to chase them down. Zane tells us that it was only because he asked around that he was able to put an end to the “treasure hunt.”

“And just to answer the question on everyone’s mind,” Zane says at the end of his story, “yes, everyone in this room is as good in bed as they look like they’d be.” It’s at exactly this moment that the door swings open to reveal a very fat little man in a dirty white tank-top. Tufts of long, stringy hair stick out of the shirt all along the sleeves, suggesting an overly hairy chest and back. “You know what,” Zane says, “I’m going to stand by that last statement. Yes...I think I’ll let it stand.”

The twins giggle at this. Perhaps sensing that he’s been made fun of, the newcomer looks over the menu before abruptly turning and leaving the parlor.

“That wasn’t very Disneyland of you,” one of the twins says.

The other agrees, adding, “Yeah, not very Disneyland at all.”

Zane slips a hand down one of the boy’s slacks, causing the molested youth to squeal. “Most everything I’m about to do to the two of you isn’t very Disneyland,” he says.

“I think we should go to lunch,” one of the twins suggests.

“Yes, a very long lunch,” the other agrees. They take Zane by the hand, leading him toward the rear exit.

“Wait, you’re leaving?” I call back to them, slightly disappointed. “You didn’t even tell us how you know these guys.”

Zane slides back into view, and when he speaks his words are comically hurried. It only takes him about fifteen seconds to say, “Danny and Cory went to high school with me and we were something of a couple...well, a trio...and yes, I mean sexually, and yes, they are just about the best fuck in the world. As luck would have it, I haven’t gotten off in almost forty-eight hours because the stupid room was so packed last night, and I haven’t gotten off with Cory and Danny since I saw them over a year ago; yes to the comment Conner is thinking about making – I am going to walk out of here and find a place to fuck them; and no to the question Devon is thinking – I won’t video it for you, but I might invite you to watch later when I do it again. So, sorry to be rude, but I gotta run, why don’t we all meet for dinner around seven at the Blue Bayou? Bye!”

And then he’s gone; I half expect to see a cartoon cloud of smoke in a Zane shape sitting where he was just standing. Conner and I stare at one another and then Conner breaks out laughing.

“What?” I ask, wondering what has his so giddy.

“Nothing,” he replies. “You’re friends are just awesome. I give him a hard time, but Zane is hilarious.”

“Yeah he is,” I agree, and then I protest Conner trying to steal a bite of my ice cream. When I’m reminded he owns the ass I like to spend so much time inside, I change political positions and gladly share, going so far as to insist he take the whole thing. He just laughs at me and dabs a glob of whipped cream onto my nose.

When we finish our “snack” I insist that we immediately go back to riding rides. Conner asks whether this might make me puke, so in defiance of the insinuation I make him ride the teacups with me.

“Okay, now I’m gonna puke,” he says as we get off; I’d failed to mention that I like to spin them at top speed the entire ride.

We then ride Peter Pan. As is my custom, I lean forward in the ride car so as to have the best view down into the ride. “Wow!” I gasp when we come around the corner and upon the Neverland scene. I look over to see Conner smiling at me. “What?” I ask defensively.

“Nothing,” he replies. “You’re just adorable when you act like a little kid. Stay like that forever.”

“Kay,” I say, snuggling up against my boyfriend for the rest of our journey through Peter’s adventures.

As the day turns to evening I become a bit frantic to see and do everything. We ride Indiana Jones and then head back to Tomorrowland for another whirl on both Space Mountain Classic and Space Mountain 3000. I score over a million on Space Mountain 3000, waving my blaster in victory as our ride car screeches to a halt.

“Do you think Zane was serious about dinner?” Conner asks, looking at his watch. It’s nearly seven. I check my own com to find a recent text from Léna. She confirms that the scrubs showed up for their check in, and that she’s sent them off to the Tomorrowland Pizza Port for dinner.

I tell Conner that I don’t have any messages from Zane, and have no idea if he’s expecting us for dinner, but we decide to wander over toward New Orleans Square in case he is. We’re both slightly surprised when we find Zane and the twins standing outside The Blue Bayou – Zane had been serious and he had shown up on time, wow. The trio look...tired. Not like “hard day at work” tired, more “ten rounds of boy sex later” tired.

“Hey, Conner and Devon!” Zane exclaims in a booming voice when he spots us. He’s clearly giddy – yeah, he’s gotten lucky more than once since we last saw him.

Cory and Danny greet us as though we’re old friends, and then tell us that they’ve procured a table for us near the water. We check in, Danny flirting shamelessly with the Host, and then are seated shortly thereafter.

The Blue Bayou is one of my all-time favorite restaurants. The dining room is made to look like the terrace of a Louisiana plantation, one existing in an endless nightfall with an ever-rising full moon low on the horizon and fireflies dancing lazily by the water’s edge. Our table is located overlooking the “river,” in actuality the flume carrying the Pirates of the Caribbean ride cars down into the attraction.

After a moment my eyes adjust to the candlelight, and I find myself almost completely relaxed. If there is any constancy in life, I find mine at Disneyland. The way the Blue Bayou smells or the porch swing sitting on a patio on Main Street or the way the fire-dancing hula boys in It’s a Small World are both cute and hot – these are all things that have remained the same since my first visit when I was an infant. It makes me feel nostalgic, and safe somehow.

“Quarter for your thoughts,” Danny says, smiling in my direction.

I snap back to reality. “I was just thinking about Disneyland,” I answer. “About what it was like when I was a’s great they saved it.”

“Yeah it is,” Cory agrees. “We were there, you know – when the evacuation started. Danny and I were on break from school. We were headed back to Seattle, but decided to stop by Disneyland on the way. wasn’t really on the way, but we decided to go anyway.”

“It’s a good thing, too,” Danny says. “I hear it rains all the time on the Seattle ship.”

Zane flicks a sugar packet at the twin for his lame joke, and the two engage in a brief but fierce bout of footsies under the table while Cory continues. “Anyway...we were in the park when it happened. It was amazing – there was this whole plan to disassemble the park in the event of evacuation. There were over fifty thousand ‘reservists’ in the Anaheim area assigned to help with the project.”

“We were in the back of the park when the sirens went off,” Danny continues, done playing with Zane for the moment. “By the time we made it to the front, the facades were already coming down off the Main Street buildings and there was a group carrying the white hearse from The Haunted Mansion down the street. It was...weird. Both silly and moving – we ended up helping out. It only took about twenty hours to disassemble the entire park...amazing.”

“That is amazing,” Conner marvels. “You have to wonder what made someone come up with that idea.”

“I don’t,” I assert. Everyone looks at me. “Disneyland It always has been, and it always will be. It was a good idea to bring it along. I don’t know, I guess it just feels special to have rescued it. Wherever we go, it’ll be there, reminding us of the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that created America, and the modern world.” I feel a little silly, but I tear up, thinking about this one piece of my childhood – of humanity’s childhood – that was saved.

Cory shoots me an understanding look. “Cute – and sensitive too,” he says, reaching out to take my hand in his. “I have a feeling Conner is a pretty lucky guy.”

“I am,” Conner says, eyeing me affectionately; I blush at the attention.

Our dinner is superb. The pork chops are small and mixed with ration meat – I’m told food is a little scarce on the ship – but they’re covered in the cinnamon apples and paired with the cheesy potatoes au gratin I remember from my childhood, so I stuff my face. Conner drinks about ten glasses of water and then excuses himself to go to the restroom.

“So,” Danny says, “Zane told us how you two got together...very sexy.”

“Zane,” I whine, “I asked you not to tell anyone about us doing it on the rear observation’s embarrassing.” Sometimes I really regret confiding things like that in my rambunctious friend.

Cory and Danny’s eyes go wide; Zane was about to take a drink from his glass, but laughs and then chokes. While he coughs and sputters, Danny and Cory both scoot in closer and prop their chins in their palms, as though getting ready to hear a particularly good story.

“He didn’t say anything about the rear observation deck,” one of them says.

The other completed his brother’s sentence. “...but now we have to know all about it.”

“Later,” I laugh, spying Conner making his way back from the bathroom. The boys insist on hearing the story now, but I shake my head. Just before Conner comes within earshot, I tell them that if they say anything around Conner I’ll never tell.

“Did I miss something?” Conner says, sitting. The twins are eyeing him with goofy grins.

“Where’s the dessert menu?” I ask, looking around the table, changing the subject.

As it turns out, I don’t need one. A moment later, a trio of waiters approaches our table singing Happy Birthday; the lead waiter is carrying a small cake with a solitary lit candle on top. I instantly turn red.

“I’m gonna kill you guys,” I moan, not really upset.

“Don’t look at me,” Zane protests. I glance over at a very guilty looking Conner, and suddenly I understand the real reason behind his long bathroom trip. “Dork,” I mutter. He’s forgiven when I discover the cake to be lemon with strawberries and whipped cream, one of my favorite birthday cakes.

“I know it’s early,” Conner says after I blow out the candle. “We’ll have another cake on your birthday, but I wanted you to get one tonight too. Happy early eighteenth birthday, Devon.”

“Happy birthday!” the other three boys exclaim in unison, raising their glasses to me. I smile affectionately at them.

After dinner, Zane and the twins take off to go...never mind, I don’t even need to say. Before they leave, they request that we meet them back at the ice cream parlor at closing. We agree and then walk out of the restaurant together.

The air in the park is cooler, and the artificial night of the Blue Bayou is replaced by the “real” night created by the image of a full moon and stars on the lobby ceiling. Around the park, a million lights have been activated, presenting Disneyland at its most magical. Conner and I decide to walk around the river, letting our food digest. I stop and hang over a railing when the Mark Twain, a replica 19th century steamship, paddles by. Jazz music fills the air and I smell something gentle and floral on the air.

“This is really special, Conner,” I say. For some reason it takes me a moment to muster the courage to voice this, I’m not sure why.

“Thanks,” Conner says, leaning on the rail next to me.

I stand and turn to him, taking his cheeks in my palms. “No,” I say, shaking my head. “You don’t get it. I mean...this is really special, Conner. I’ll never forget it, my whole life. I feel...” And then my words fail me. I try again. “I feel...I feel...I feel like this,” I finally say, pulling my boyfriend closer to me and taking his lips into mine. They’re sweet, the faint taste of frosting still upon them. And they’re warm, and familiar, and wonderful. I let the kiss linger on as long as possible, hoping to remain here kissing this boy forever and ever. I feel Conner melt at my touch, and when he sighs I do the same in return.

We’re startled by applause when we part lips. I jump, and then see that a small crowd has gathered to watch us kissing. Conner turns a deep crimson and I giggle sillily as a twenty-something girl offers me a thumbs-up. “Thanks, we’re here all night,” I joke; Conner turns even redder.

Nighttime at Disneyland is magical, and Conner and I take it in. The Main Street Holographic Parade draws a crowd around nine, and then at ten a bevy of holographic fireworks “explodes” in the night sky, presenting sparkly images of knights fighting dragons and some of the more familiar Disney characters.

I ask Conner if we can ride Space Mountain again, and we do. It never gets old! And then, to Conner’s amazement and wonder, I order and consume a cinnamon roll and latte at the Main Street Bakery.

All too soon the hour grows late and the crowds begin to thin. I look up at the castle, which is adorned with white and blue lights for Christmas. I almost feel like crying, I’m both tremendously happy to be here, but also a little sad. I resist, though. I don’t want Conner to think I’m upset.

An announcement sounds over the park system. “Disneyland has concluded its normal operating day,” a friendly voice proclaims. “Main Street U.S.A. will be open for another hour. Thank you for visiting the happiest place on Earth.”

“I guess someday they’ll change that last part,” I mention.

Conner smiles at me. “I don’t know. In a way, wherever Disneyland is, that might as well be the Earth. You were right earlier – they were right to save this place.”

Léna sends me a short message informing me that she and the scrubs have left the park, and that she’s walking them back to the space tunnel. She promises to make sure they get back to EV5997 safely. I reply, thanking her profusely for her help with the boys.

I feel a chill and procure a hot chocolate from a street vendor. We reach the end of Main Street and find a spot to sit at the dance stand next to the castle. The live band we’d seen playing here earlier was gone, but swing music continues to play over the sound system. I sip my drink. “When I was a kid, this was our meeting spot,” I say. “The place where my parents and I were supposed to go if we got separated. My mom always made my put a piece of paper in my shoe with their phone number on it, too. Just in case.”

“I like your mom,” Conner says sleepily. It’s almost one, and I know he’s been working hard lately. I’m also mindful of talking about family in front of him – he’s lost his, and I still wasn’t completely comfortable with that.

I look over at the dance floor. “Hey, we need to dance!” I say. To end an almost perfect day, I want a Disneyland dance with my boy. Conner half-heartedly protests, but when I pull him up off his chair he follows.

As we step onto the dance floor the traditional Disneyland “last dance” song begins – I think it’s called Moonlight Serenade...yeah, by Glenn Miller. Classical music can be as romantic as hell.

Conner takes me into his arms, and I put my head on his shoulder. He’s not the best dancer in the world, but all that’s required now is that he shuffle me in small circles and make me feel safe and warm, and he does both very nicely.

“I never want to go home,” I whisper.

Conner laughs. “Really? You want to live in a bedroom with a gazillion other people?”

“Nah,” I reply. “I was thinking we could live here in the park. Sell churros by day, sleep out under the stars at night. Maybe adopt one of the Disneyland horses and train it to do some sort of nighttime firework aquatic show with us – Charlie can make our outfits.”

Conner laughs out loud at this. “You’re such a kook,” he says, raising my arm over my head and twirling me before taking me tightly back into his embrace. “But I have to tell you something.”

I tilt my head and look him in the eyes; the lights of the castle behind us reflect in his wide pupils as a million little golden specks. He smiles seductively and I fall in love with him a little more. “I love you, Devon Chasen, kookiness and all.”

There’s not really a lot I can say to that, so I don’t say anything. I just sigh and put my head on his shoulder for the rest of the dance.

When the last dance ends we walk up Main Street toward the ice cream parlor. A sign on the door proclaims it “closed,” but Zane lets us in. “Wow, you two are glowing,” he says. “What have you been up to?”

“We’re in love,” I reply, taking Conner’s hand into mine.

Zane smiles. “I see that – it’s all over your faces. Hey...I have an idea – come with me. We’ll be back in one second,” he says to Cory and Danny, who are in the back cleaning up. They nod in acknowledgement and Zane leads us back out onto Main Street.

“Here, stand here,” he says. Then he steps back and pulls up an app on his wristcom. “I’ve never seen anyone look quite as happy and sexy as you two. You should remember it forever.” Zane raises his wrist to take a photo. I’m usually camera shy, but tonight I’m just happy. I wrap an arm around Conner and he does the same to me. We smile wide, and Zane snaps a picture. Then he gets one of us kissing, and we have a departing visitor take one of the three of us.

A week later a frame with all three photos shows up on the wall of the unoccupied flat, and one with the picture of Conner and me hugging shows up in a smaller frame by my bedside. I note then that Zane was right – Conner and I do look happy and sexy. It’s actually the first photo of us together as a couple, and I carry the picture around with me for the rest of my life.

We return to the ice cream parlor, where the twins have finished cleaning up.

“So what’d you guys want to do tonight?” I ask. “Get dessert somewhere? I could go for some dessert.”

“There is just no way,” Conner says, eyeing me dubiously. He takes a seat, trying to list all the sugary treats I’ve had today.

“What? It’s Disneyland,” I reply, as though part of the magic of the place is the bestowed ability to consume a thousand desserts in one day. One of the twins laughs and walks back into the kitchen.

The other turns to us and says, “Actually, if you don’t have to go back over to the other ship until tomorrow, we kinda thought you might spend the night.”

“I don’t know,” Conner replies. “I mean, we can cross back over tomorrow morning if we need to, but I don’t know if we should kick people out of their beds for another night – and I don’t know if I can take another night sleeping in a room with three dozen people.”

Cory returns from the kitchen. He’s carrying a long, black container, which he slides in front of me before handing me a spoon. The bottom is coated with an inch or so of all the gooey toppings the shop serves – cooled hot fudge and caramel and strawberry and toffee cream all mixing together in swirls at the bottom of the dish. On top sits several scoops of ice cream in varying flavors.

“It’s the overflow from the fountain,” he explains. “Usually we toss it in the recycler, but I put some ice cream on there for you...go to town.”

I eye the sugary mess he’s offered me before putting on a huge grin. “It’s the best present ever!” I proclaim before digging in. The boys all laugh at me, although moments later they’re sharing the concoction.

“About spending the night,” Danny says, smacking on some sticky caramel, “I actually meant spend the night here, in the park.”

My eyes go wide. “What? Disneyland sleepover? They let you do that? Get out! They let you do that?” My voice goes up an octave for the last part.

Conner rolls his eyes at me. “No more sugar once you’re done with...that giant bowl of sugar.”

Cory takes off his apron and hangs it behind the counter. “Well,” he says, extending the word as long as possible before continuing. “There’s ‘let’ and there’s ‘let.’ Do they let us do it in the sense that they know about it and allow it? No. Do they let us in the sense that we have some secret hiding spots that are a hell of a lot better than our assigned hallway cots? Yeah.”

“Sweet! I’m in! Awesome!” I exclaim, high on sugar and the knowledge we’re about to do something naughty.

Zane is, of course, also up for it. Conner looks a little uncertain about breaking the rules, but does nothing to stand in the way of my dream of a Disneyland sleepover.

“There’re actually several places you can sack out,” Danny says. He lists all the places they’ve used as sleeping spots and then asks me to take my pick. It’s tempting to camp out inside Pirates of the Caribbean or The Haunted Mansion, but then I consider all the skeletons and decor. Neither is exactly romantic. Then I consider one of the other options and it sounds perfect. I announce my choice.

“Cool,” Danny says. “The cleaning crew will leave right at two. I can take the two of you over there after that. Before that, we have to hide out at our place. Follow me.”

It suddenly dawns on me that Conner and I will be alone for our Disneyland sleepover. Cool. I mean...way cool.

We follow the twins out the rear of the ice cream shop and into the cast member area. Sleepy looking park workers pass us here and there; the twins say goodnight to anyone we pass as we walk. The area is a maze of hallways, which ultimately leads to a set of industrial looking double doors.

“This way, gentlemen,” Danny says, looking around before opening the doors, presumably to ensure no one is around to see five boys sneaking into the building. The room inside is dark, and we’re directed where to go in hushed whispers. Danny...or Cory maybe...guides Conner and me through the space, taking advantage of the opportunity to grab my ass along the way.

“Sorry, it had to be done,” a voice whispers in my ear.

We come to a metal staircase and follow our new friends up it as quietly as possible. It feels like we’ve climbed at least ten stories before we’ve reached our destination. One of the twins opens a small door and motions for us to step inside.

“You’re shitting me!” I say upon entering. We’ve been brought to a small, dimly lit room. Several sleeping bags lie piled in a corner, along with the detritus that reveals the twins really have been living here. This isn’t what gets my attention, however. What gets my attention is that the ceiling of the room is translucent, providing a view of the familiar track and projected star-field of Space Mountain. “You guys live in Space Mountain? You live in Space Mountain?”

Both twins stare at me, curious smiles set upon their sexy lips. “Does he always react this way to sugar?” one of them asks.

Conner nods. “Yes...and thank you so much for giving him that sixtieth serving of it.”

The five of us hang out in the “Space Mountain Bedroom Supreme” for a while before Danny announces that it’s late enough to take Conner and me to my sleeping spot of choice. He rummages through the pile of bedding in the corner and produces two extra sleeping bags – causing me to wonder exactly what kind of overnight guests these two have had in here. Before I can ask, we’re being whisked down the stairs and back into the park.

“We’ll keep to the back areas,” Danny says. “Just in case anyone is staying late. But we should be fine – we’ve barely ever seen anyone after hours.”

True to his word, the park is vacated, although most of the lights are still on. He peeks around the corner when we arrive at Main Street and then, satisfied no one is around, dashes across toward the Plaza Inn. Here he uses a key card to access another cast-member area. We walk a series of hallways here, emerging back into the park on the other side of the Enchanted Tiki Room.

“You sure this is where you want to sleep?” he asks. “Last chance to change your mind.”

“No way,” I say. “This is totally my childhood dream.”

“Okay,” Danny chuckles. “No one’s around – I’ll let you two go the rest of the way on your own. Set your alarm for seven, you should come back to our room then so you don’t get caught.” We tell Danny we can find our way back, and promise to return at the mentioned hour. Then he heads back for some “sleep” and I lead Conner the rest of the way.

“The treehouse, huh?” he asks when we reach the base of a long stairway leading up into a massive fake tree; wooden structures sit in multiple levels amongst the branches. “Why the treehouse?”

I start up the stairs. “When I was a kid, I always thought it would be cool to live here,” I answer. “Besides, wait until you see the view.”

We trek up the stairs, ascending one staircase to find another around the corner. Eventually we begin passing scenes from Disney movies. We come upon a bedroom scene where an evil looking leopardess is stalking a sleeping infant. “How about here?” Conner asks. There’s a wide space on the floor between the crib and a destroyed fake bed where we could theoretically roll out our sleeping bags, but I shake my head.

“Nope, all the way to the top,” I say, climbing the next stairway. Conner laughs behind me and calls me a goof.

We eventually arrive at the highest point accessible to pedestrians on the attraction – here the upward winding stairs end in a short, level walkway connecting to a stairway that begins the downward hike to ground level. Next to the walkway sits the destroyed deck of a nineteenth century sailing ship – one that has been moved up into the gigantic treehouse to act as a lookout platform. The platform, in reality some sort of plastic made to look like wooden boards, is about three meters square, ringed by a border made to look like broken, jagged wood extending thirty centimeters high, so that for the most part the lookout deck is completely exposed to the “outside.”

I climb up onto the platform. “Here?” Conner asks incredulously. “You’re insane!”

I look around the platform and then at Conner curiously. “What? There’s plenty of room, and the border will keep us from rolling off.” I unroll the sleeping bag I’d been carrying, forming a pallet in the center of the platform.

Conner steps up onto the deck and looks over the side, where only a few fake branches and leaves obstruct the view of the ground far below us. “Um, okay,” he says, sounding a little nervous. He sits down cross-legged on the pallet.

I take his sleeping bag from him and unroll it next to mine before taking a seat next to him. “It’s perfect. Check out the view.” From where we’re sitting we can see down into the Jungle Cruise behind us, the five-thousand-pound leaping tiger visible through the trees. Next to that we can make out the Temple of the Forbidden Eye rising from its jungle locale. To our left lies the Rivers of America, and New Orleans Square, each building lined with sparking white lights. The Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain sit on the horizon. But best of all, off to our right we can see the spires and sparkles of the most famous castle in the world. Dressed up for the holidays, it almost looks like it’s been encased in ice.

I point all of this out to my boyfriend.

“I have to admit, you’ve chosen a pretty good spot,” he says.

I don’t say anything in response, but instead peel my shirt off over my head. When I reach down and grab his, he doesn’t argue, and he doesn’t blush. He simply raises his arms and allows me to expose his naked chest to the night air.

“I hope you had a good time today,” he says.

Again I remain silent, unbuttoning my pants and shimmying out of them, taking my shoes and socks off in the process. He watches me intently, as though he’s never seen my undress before. When I finish with my clothes I push him backward and he props himself up on his elbows, looking down to watch me remove his shoes one at a time.

“I mean, I thought for sure you’d figured out where we were going,” Conner jabbers as I unfasten his belt and unbutton his pants. I tug on them and he lifts his hips so that I can slide them off his lean frame.

Conner raises and eyebrow, and then says, “Hey, are you sure you didn’t really know about Disneyland? I didn’t think there was any way I was going to keep that from you.”

I just smile and shake my head.

“Oh,” he says, thinking about my answer and then smiling. “Well, I guess it was a good birthday surprise then. Not that this is your only birthday present...people should get presents on their actual birthday, I just...oh....” he babbles, stopping when he notices that I’ve laid down on top of him, our warm bodies lining up just perfectly.

I hug him tightly, enjoying the feel of him, the smell of him, the everything of him. I love the way the fuzz on his legs tickles the fuzz on mine, and the way our tummies slide smoothly against each other. I press down a little more, allowing my full weight to rest on him, our chests coming together. I can feel his heart beating, slightly elevated now that he knows what’s going on.

Conner’s voice drops in both volume and pitch when he continues speaking. “You want to have sex now, don’t you?” he asks, looking me in the eyes. I just smile coyly and nod. “Yeah, okay,” he says, reaching up to run his fingers through my hair. “Make love to me, Devy – anything you want. Tonight is your night.”

Tonight is my night, huh? I could joke about this, but I just smile and shimmy out of my underwear. Once I’m naked I press my lips to his forehead, letting his bangs tickle my lips and cheeks. His hair smells slightly of mint, but mostly of Conner. It’s a floating, soft aroma that makes me feel fluttery and horny.

I take off my wristcom, the last thing I’m wearing. I open the small slot in the side where I hide my universal emergency hatch key, a spot where I’d recently taken to hiding something else. Zane had taught me what he called “an old sailor’s trick.” Whether seamen ever really stashed tiny packets of super-concentrated lube in their wristcoms is doubtful to me, but it was a good idea and I’d followed my friend’s suggestion.

Before I set the wristcom aside I set it to jukebox mode and pull up one of my favorite playlists. A lilting, sexy tune fills the air. Conner removes his own underwear and leans back on his elbows, smiling at me sensually; his manhood is standing at full attention, ready for my touch and my love.

I sit next to him and touch his chest. “You’re beautiful,” he whispers.

I’m in a mood to be quiet and sexy, so I just smile. “Oh,” Conner gasps, biting his lower lip. I’ve reached down between us to very lightly graze the skin of his scrotum with my fingertips. This always gets him going.

“, this day has just been too much. This isn’t a dream, right?” he asks when I start stroking his shaft lightly. His eyes get a slightly glassy look that tells me he’s enjoying what I’m doing. I pull him in tight to me, hugging his body to mine. It may be my imagination, but he feels like his body temperature has gone up significantly in the past few minutes.

“Oh, oh,” he coos. “I really – ah – I really like that, Devy. But all the sugar; everything that’s happened today. I want to...I want to stay up all night with you like this,”

I tilt my head curiously, waiting for him to elaborate.

“Um,” he continues, “I think I need you inside right now. Will you...will you fuck me? I mean, we can save that for later if you want. I’m not being bossy or anything, I just....”

This time he falls silent because I’ve placed my forefinger gently against his lips. I’m sure he can smell his scent on my hand, perhaps even taste it a little. I look him in the eyes, still not speaking, and press him down onto his back. I pull his legs up onto my shoulders, enjoying the way our bodies fit together like this. I snap the top off my tiny container of lube and smear some on my cock, which appreciates the attention. Then I run a slick finger across Conner’s hole, first lubricating the silky skin there and then penetrating him slightly to get him ready.

Conner sighs, his eyes rolling up in his head. I watch him react to my touch, enjoying the way his sandy brown bangs fall away from his face when he leans back. “Yeah,” he whispers. “I really, really need you inside me. I love you, Devy.”

I do as he asks, sliding slowly into him until he’s taken all of me. Pleasure courses through my body, and instinct tells me to start thrusting rapidly. I resist, though, taking a moment to think about my boyfriend’s body, and about how things line up inside him.

“Ooh, Devon, yeah...I tried a lot of things up there, and nothing quite fit right until I found you.”

I still don’t speak, but I have to laugh, leaning in for a playful kiss before proceeding. And then I visualize the place inside him where what feels like a small knot is located. I try to position my tip right in that area; eventually I’ll become masterful at having sex with Conner, knowing just how to penetrate him in order to give him the most pleasure. I’m not there yet, but recently I’ve begun maintaining enough control to focus on his pleasure along with mine, and I’ve begun learning about the benefits of poking him just right with my dick.

“Okay, I think you’re hitting...urgh!” Conner says, making a funny little chirping sound when I thrust into him. My penis isn’t quite tactile enough to tell me when I’m hitting his prostate, but his chipmunk noises makes it so that it doesn’t have to be.

“Devon...oh...wait...Devon...yeah,” he moans as I fuck him. I slide in and out, giving his ass a gentle jab at the end of each stroke. It feels great for me, but I’m really trying to do this in a way that drives him wild, and I think I’m succeeding.

Our bodies grow warmer and we both begin to sweat. I shift positions, and then when he asks to go back to the first we do. He touches my body, grabbing and caressing everywhere he can reach. And then I go back to fucking him silly.

“Ah...ah...ah,” he moans and grunts; the sounds he makes drive me wild.

There are few perfect moments in life. Tonight, making love high above Disneyland, the jungle damp lying lightly on our exposed skin like a cool linen blanket, gentle music wafting sensually across the platform – this is a perfect moment, one that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

“Oh! Devon! Yeah, ooh, yeah, uh, yeah!” Conner takes to moaning louder now. I can tell he’s close, and that brings me close.

I feel the building pleasure of an orgasm appear on the horizon in my mind. I look into Conner’s eyes, slightly panicked that I’m going to cum too soon. He sees my fear and quells it. “Do it,” he says, reaching up to brush my sweat-soaked cheek with his palm. “Come inside me.”

Lust overcomes me and my thrusting becomes more frantic, sloppy.

“Cum inside me, cum inside me,” Conner groans, his body twisting and contorting under me. My mind goes hyperactive and I try to take everything in – the sound of my body slamming into his, the smell of our sweat, the expression on Conner’s face as his pleasure builds to an intolerable level. And then his entire body tenses, overcome with lust and shock. “Oh fuck!” he yells, his voice reverberating throughout the trees.

Conner performs the longest-distance cumshot I’ve ever seen, his cock erupting in full glory. His first spurt leaps out of his cock as though propelled by some form of rocket fuel. It clears his shoulder and flies over the short border of the platform. I watch as the white sticky streak disappears into the night, falling down into Disneyland somewhere. Conner continues cumming, hitting his cheek and then his chest. I feel a hot, sticky glob land on my collarbone and I grunt approval, fucking my boyfriend with wild abandon.

“Uh...uh...uh!” I groan. Conner’s orgasm has set me off. I feel my dick erupt deep inside him; each move I make sends shockwaves of pleasure ripping through my young body. I moan, a low, guttural sound, my first shot oozing deep inside my boyfriend. And then I can’t take it – I’m not sure if I’ll survive if I penetrate him for the entire orgasm. I pull out frantically, grabbing my spasming cock and nearly falling over. I stoke my slick cock, my subsequent shots spraying down onto my boyfriend’s chest and stomach. His dick is still spraying, ejecting his final, smaller shots.

“I uh, I uh,” Conner gasps once his orgasm subsides. We’re both panting, completely out of breath. I laugh at him, which causes him to put on a silly face as he tries to concentrate enough to both speak and breathe. “I uh, hope you don’t think we’re through,” he says. “We may never get to go to Disneyland again, and we’ll almost assuredly never have the opportunity to spend the night here again. We should make the most of it. I think my ass and I are ready...we’ve been conditioning for a marathon. What do you say, round two?”

I take a moment to look Conner over. He’s soaked with sweat – and semen – his chest flushed red and dotted with several long white streaks of splattered semen. He shakes his head vigorously; it’s a habit he’s formed to keep the hair from his eyes, one I find particularly sexy. His cock is hard and wet, throbbing slightly, almost in time with the music.

I look to my own stiff member. There’s no way it’s done for the night.

I flash Conner an evil grin. And then I pounce him playfully, his yelps of protest reverberating through the jungle. We make love over and over again through the night; ultimately I begin dry-cumming, but he never does, always spraying at least a small glob of semen at the end. We laugh at how he’s stored up so much, and grow a little sore from using our penises over and over again like this, and then we cum again.

I never say a word, but that doesn’t matter in the least. “Oh…oh…Devon! Five times…can’t believe…here I…here I…URGH!” Conner grunts, really straining to push himself to the point of no return. His cock erupts – yeah, it’s still erupting on the fifth one…wow – squirting another load onto his tummy, albeit this load is smaller than any of the previous. I consider going for a quick and frantic sixth, but my dick feels swollen and sore already.

Aww…what the fuck? You only live once.

I pound away frantically, Conner watching as he tried to catch his breath. I gasp and moan, my legs feeling wobbly and tired. My abs are starting to hurt from the exertion, but I insist on finishing what I’ve started. I get myself to the edge of orgasm by getting up on my knees and whacking off as fast and hard as I can. I’m gonna feel it later, but I don’t care. When I cum I lose my balance, falling forward to collapse on Conner’s soft body. I groan and twitch through my final orgasm, Conner encouraging me on with sexy whispers and light stokes to my back.

“Okay, I’m done,” I proclaim, panting heavily.

“Lightweight,” Conner laughs, but then agrees that he too is sated…for now.

Ultimately the “sun” rises and the deadline arrives. Conner pulls his tee over his head, his lower half still nude. He collapses back onto his sleeping bag, which was used for just about everything but sleeping. “Whew,” he puffs, “I’m beat. Wow...that was great, but no more sex – for like a month.”

I shoot him a hurt expression, complete with puppy-dog eyes. He laughs. “Okay, okay! Just kidding...sheesh. Just give me a couple of hours to recuperate.”

“Okay,” I concede, pulling my underwear up over a cock that is a little swollen and sore, but quite satisfied. “But only a couple.”

We finish dressing, gather our things, and hightail it back to the twins’ hidden bedroom. We have to make a mad dash across Main Street to keep from being noticed by some arriving park workers, but we make it unnoticed.

We arrive at the door to the twins’ bedroom and Conner asks whether we should barge in, considering what Zane and the boys probably have been doing all night. I shrug, telling him that they told us to come back here. He agrees, shrugging nonchalantly, and we enter.

“Hiya,” Zane says from across the room, a rather satisfied smirk spread across his lips. He’s sitting up against the far wall with a twin to either side of him. All three boys are naked save a single sheet lazily strewn across their waists so as to hide the naughty bits.

I grin at my friend. “Hi.”

Zane winces. “Whew! You two smell like sex,” he says. The twins both smile, looking a little sleepy and dreamy.

Conner blushes. “We do not,” he protests. Then he sticks his nose down into the collar of his shirt to check. “Oh. Yuck, we do,” he admits, turning a little deeper red.

“S’ok,” Zane says, standing, his pendulous cock exposed. It looks about as swollen as mine feels. “They have a shower in here,” he says.

“Why is there a shower in Space Mountain?” I ask.

One of the twins yawns before speaking in a slow, sleepy tone. “This was an employee break area...once upon a time,” he says. “We got into the computer system when they were reconstructing Disneyland here, and we erased this room from the plans so that no one knows about it. We thought it would be cool to have our own private clubroom, then eventually we turned it into a bedroom. Downstairs there’s a shower and a locker room. Fortunately the shower works, but sadly it’s tied into the ship systems, so the stupid seven minute thing applies.”

Zane looks very self-satisfied when he says, “Unless you see how many boys you can pile in at one time...then you get thirty-five.”

The four of us look at Zane and then one another, all of us slightly uncertain about what he’s suggesting. And then we’re not, five smiling boys running downstairs, three naked and two rapidly losing their clothes. We enter the locker room, make no apologies about checking everyone else out – the twins are completely identical, by the way – and then we each wave our coms over the shower controls, adding our shower ration time to one another’s until we have thirty-five glorious minutes to wash – and to get to know each other a little better.

Showering with Conner, Zane and the twins is...well, sexy, as one might expect. I get boned, despite being totally sexually worn out, and if I hadn’t filled Conner with my spunk all night long I’d probably be an insane ball of hormones. As it is, I stick to some mild flirting and exploratory touching.

“Ooh, I love your hair,” one of the twins says to me, squirting shampoo onto my head from a bottle he’s retrieved from a shelf in the shower. “It’s so soft.”

“Thanks,” I reply, blushing at the compliment. I guess I never really thought of my hair as soft.

“Wow, that’s a long one!” the other twin says to Conner, looking down between the two boys. “Can I see?” he asks, unabashed.

Conner looks uncertain and then smiles shyly, saying, “Yeah, sure.” A moment later he squeaks, and then exclaims, “Hey! See with your eyes, not your fingers!” The crowded shower, filled to the brim with wet, soapy bodies, erupts in laughter.

All too soon shower time is over. We emerge, clean and happy, although all a little tired. Even our five dicks look tired, I think, checking each one out. Conner and I aren’t the only ones with slightly swollen cocks.

By the time we’re all dressed, heading for the park exit, I feel like I’ve known Cory and Danny Novak my entire life.

We’re sad to leave the twins, and Disneyland, but Conner says we really do have to get back. We say our goodbyes, promising to try to visit again before the docking is complete. Then three tired boys make the trek back to the docking bay. I can’t speak for the other two, but I need a nap.

“What the hell?” I ask when we arrive at the docking bay floor. The halls are completely packed with people and trunks. In fact, it’s so packed that when we get about eight bays down from our destination, we discover we can’t proceed any farther – the hall is just too jammed. This is odd – this was the one area of the ship where we hadn’t encountered droves of people when we came aboard.

Conner looks at his com, as though expecting it to provide a solution. When it doesn’t, he says, “Well, I guess I’ll try to squeeze through and see what’s up.” He leaves his bag with us and asks that we stay put.

“You have fun?” Zane asks when he’s gone.

I turn to my sexy friend and smile. “Totally,” I reply. “This was the best trip ever. You?”

“Oh yeah.” The glint in Zane’s eye offers insight into what he did last night, and exactly how much fun he found that.

We wait for a couple of minutes, and when Conner doesn’t come back I tap a nearby girl on the shoulder. When she turns around, looking at me politely, I ask, “Do you have any idea what’s going on? I mean – with the crowd today?”

She just stares at me blankly, and I realize she doesn’t speak English. “Oh, sorry,” I say, trying to remember how to say that in French. Hmm...Conner taught me about apologizing after an accident with a wedge of brie in bed...dang it, I forgot.

“Okay,” Conner’s voice sounds from behind. He’s squeezed back through the crowd to fetch us. “They’re moving some people over today,” he explains. “But we’re supposed to go to the front of the line.”

This proves easier said than done. We slowly make our way down the corridor, squeezing through the crowd. Too bad I used up my entire lube stash – it may have come in helpful this morning. We’re eventually able to get to the docking bay, where I run into a familiar face. “Léna!” I say upon noticing my French friend. “Hey, are you stalking me?” I ask in a joking tone.

It takes her a moment to understand that I’m kidding, and when she does she laughs. “It seems that way, yes,” she says. “But no...I am – how do you say – coordinating. But it eez wonderful, have you not heard?”

When I shake my head she continues. “Our move to zee ozzer ship, eet has been approved! We will be going to live wiz you and your friends.”

Now I’m the one pausing to understand what I’m hearing. When it dawns on me what she’s saying, I say, “You mean...forever? Like permanently?”

Léna nods. “Yes! After some – how do you say – negotiations, they agreed that our group should move over. There are ozzers that wanted to go, but it was agreed that my group would – how do you say – fit in.”

I smile at the news. Looking around, the crowds suddenly make sense. What we’d stumbled onto was a French emigration. Léna explains that they would be trying to move five hundred people over each day until their entire group had relocated. This involves a process of getting the girls to the bay, checking their belongings, then sending them over the bridge in small groups. On the other side they have to be checked in, provided temporary quarters, then eventually moved into more permanent housing, not to mention eventually assigned jobs. At the head of the line, ten girls enter the first of the two airlock chambers. A small group of officers begins processing paperwork on the next ten in line.

Since we ran into her, I take the opportunity to thank Léna for her help with the scrubs the day before. She says that they were little angels, which I find highly dubious.

Then I want to ask her more about the migration, but Conner taps me on the shoulder, telling me that the crew members manning the checkpoint want us to go over in the next group. “Oh shoot,” I say, turning back to Léna. “I have to go. But I want to hear how it all goes! Will you be over on my ship later today?”

Léna shakes her head. “No! I am afraid to say that I will not. I must stay to coordinate the rest of zee move. But zey are waving to you, Devon!” she says, pointing behind me. I turn to see that, indeed, Conner and an officer are motioning me to approach the airlock. Léna continues, “But when I am moved over, after all zee ozzers, I will be sure to let you know.”

I nod, saying we need to meet for coffee when she’s relocated, and then I’m ushered into the airlock. The hatch closes in front of us, obscuring the scene of a bay full of confused French girls. I laugh. “Wow, looks like Paris is coming to stay.”

“Ooh-la-la,” Zane jokes.

The walk back isn’t as bad as the walk over had been. For one thing, there are a lot of people on the bridge today. We walk a little faster than the emigrants, passing several small groups as we go. Conner and I chat about how the migration came to being. I tell him that it seems really sudden, but he shakes his head and tells me it was all part of the docking.

“There are a ton of requests to move over to our ship,” he explains. “Or so I assume, based on the medical records we’re getting. Somehow I’m guessing the Léna and her friends got approved first because they fit so well with the demographics on our ship. And I’d have to agree – I think diversifying our little society will help dampen tempers, and give some bored boys things to do other than start fires.”

We discuss this, and then make some lewd jokes about this, and then laugh. I get nervous walking back over the spacebridge, but I cope better this time.

* * * * *

The news about several thousand French girls coming to live on our ship doesn’t take long to spread. In fact, I think the entire ship knows by the time we make it back to the unoccupied flat, three exhausted guys who’ve just had one hell of a whirlwind vacation.

Conner and I retreat to my bedroom for a short nap, both of us messaging work and stating that we won’t be coming in today because we were “delayed” coming back from EV1985. This isn’t a problem for either of us – Conner has worked about sixty hours of overtime this week, and I can easily trade my shift for another day. We slip into bed, both of us thinking about sleep more than sex…for once.

When we wake up, it seems like life on our vessel has changed forever.

“Oh my god, did you hear?” Mike exclaims when Conner and I stumble bleary-eyed into the living room. When he tells us that he’s referring to the French girls we nod and tell him what we’d learned on the other ship. He seems hyper, taking in our every word as though it’s the coolest news in the history of the universe and asking a million questions.

“I need coffee,” I mumble, not really sure if it’s an appropriate time of day for coffee. Then I look at Mike curiously. “I have to ask, though...why are you so excited to have a bunch of girls move over here. I mean, you and’s not like them being here will be...uh...what am I trying to say?”

Mike replies with a sarcastic smirk. “I think you’re trying to ask why I’m excited to have thousands of girls here when I’m clearly of a persuasion that enjoys taking it up the ass.”

“Erm...exactly,” I reply awkwardly.

Mike sighs. “Always about the sex with you – that reminds me, I need to go wank – anyway, I think it will be exciting having the French girls here. We can learn to speak their language – and Charlie can learn to make clothes for them! This is going to be really cool, don’t you think?”

I nod, agreeing. Conner does too, although he seems quiet and reflective about something.

Mike considers something. “Hey, we all thought you guys were due back yesterday. Last night was weird without you or Zane. What happened? Did you get backed up or something?”

By spending the night in Disneyland we’d missed our usual Friday night wank-a-thon. “We were…delayed,” I tell Mike. “But in no way am I backed up.”

My young friend looks at me curiously, and Conner just rolls his eyes.

* * * * *

When I was a kid, returning from a trip to Disneyland always required a period of adjusting back to reality. I find this to still be the case. I pick up an afternoon shift on Sunday, but my cooking is really, really subpar all day, and my mind frequently wanders. At times I daydream about sex up in the trees at Disneyland, which is about the time I ruin the soup, and then others I think about Danny and Cory, which is about the time I burn some cornbread.

Eventually, I start thinking about serious things. The news about the Aderalan and Zupertol was surprising, but not shocking. Now I needed to consider what to do about it, which sets me to thinking about Sneak, Patrick and Reid, who suddenly seemed to make up a defacto spy ring, me included.

I’d never been a big fan of the subterfuge going on all over the ship. I disliked the tension created by Steven and his monkeys, and to be honest I wasn’t a fan of Eden’s security force either. And I especially didn’t like uncertainty, the constant tension that another riot or fire was about to break out. I understood why my friends would respond to this by doing what they could to stop it, but I was tired of the spying and sneaking.

“Fuck it,” I say, realizing I’d just dumped two tablespoons of tarragon into the curry I’m making – it was supposed to be turmeric.

And then something dawns on me – why am I pushing thoughts of Disneyland aside to focus on all the tension crap? Why am I even involved in it? It’s not what I want my life to be like, it’s annoying, and feels a little like the stupidest elementary school game ever invented. I just want to cook and laugh and make love to Conner every night. And although several billion kilometers will soon separate Disneyland and me, I want it to be in my dreams, not Zupertol.

I have an epiphany – I’m ready to put all the sneaking and spying behind me for good. My friends might feel they need it, but I don’t.

That afternoon, I arrange a meeting with Patrick and Reid, where I explain this to them. I reveal what Conner and I had discovered, and tell them we have no idea what it means. I also go over everything I know about Sneak, and tell Reid that I will ask Sneak if he’d like to arrange a way to communicate with him. Once this is done, I ask that they don’t pester me with anymore conspiracy crap – but I try to phrase it as politely as possible.

“Are you guys mad at me? For saying that?” I ask once I’m finished, hoping I haven’t alienated two of my closest friends.

Patrick and Reid look to one another before Patrick responds. “Actually, just the opposite, I think,” he says. “We’ve both felt...bad...about dragging you into this. I think you’re right – you have a new boyfriend, you should be off enjoying that.”

Reid adds, “And hopefully this is all moot. Every day things seem to be getting better. I think with the girls providing a...distraction, we can all look forward to less tension on board.”

We all agree. “Hey – any big plans for your birthday?” Patrick asks.

I grin involuntarily – it was December 12th, three days before my birthday. I wonder if I’ll ever get so mature so that my birthday doesn’t make me feel giddy. Nah, probably not. “Well, there’s the party, of course,” I reply.

“What party?” Reid asks, trying a little too hard to sound like he’s never heard of such a thing.

“You guys are such dorks,” I laugh. “It’s not a surprise anymore…I’ve been helping Charlie with it. You guys coming?”

Reid slaps me on the back affectionately. “I wouldn’t miss it!” he says.

“Me either,” Patrick says. “And I think this is a good time for Reid and me to “make up” publicly. I think Reid’s right – we should keep an eye out for anything weird, but things are changing. I’m thinking about moving back upstairs someday soon. But let’s not talk about this anymore tonight – in answer to your question, Devon, yes, I’ll be at your not-a-surprise party.”

“Awesome!” I reply, happy about this. When I leave the boys in our secret library meeting spot, I feel lighter.

Later that afternoon, I tell Conner about my decision and what Reid, Patrick and I had discussed.

“Good for you,” he says, looking relieved that the spying and sneaking is over. “Not because I don’t want you involved in all that, but because you thought about what you wanted and decided you didn’t want to be involved, and then you made it happen.”

I sigh. “Yeah. And the thing is – Reid and Patrick were totally cool about it. That’s good, but it has me worried. I feel like I need to tell Sneak I’m out. And I also feel like I’m willing to be his friend, but only if I know who he is. If he wants to stay anonymous from everyone else, that’s okay, but he has to come out to me.”

Conner looks thoughtful, and then says, “If that’s how you feel, then you should definitely tell him. If he wants to be a real friend to you, he should trust you. But he’s an odd guy, don’t be surprised if he doesn’t want to reveal his secret.”

I agree with Conner and then sit down to write a message for Sneak, which I’ll later leave in our hiding spot. Part of me hopes it will be received well, and that Sneak will tell me who he is, but part of me expects him to disappear back into the shadows, this time perhaps for good.

“Hey,” Conner says, sitting across the room from me. “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure,” I grunt, reading over what I’ve written.

“Do you think you can get all the guys down here tonight? I want to talk to them about something.”

I look around the empty living room, and then say, “I can try, but fitting five thousand guys in a room this small might be a stretch....”

I don’t finish, a deftly tossed pillow lands soundly against the side of my face. “Dork,” Conner says, trying to sound annoyed even though he’s smiling. “I meant your club friends...obviously.”

I consider asking him what he wants to talk to the guys about, but decide to focus on finishing my message for Sneak. Before I do, however, I agree to send the boys a text asking them to come over to the flat after dinner for an important meeting. I make sure to emphasize that I don’t mean “sexy” important, just plain important. My wristcom dings steadily for the next five minutes, each of my friends acknowledging that they’ll make time to stop by.

I leave the chip for Sneak before grabbing some dinner, and then later that evening the wank club assembles in the unoccupied flat – Conner and me, Charlie, Mike, Sean, Dog, a mopey Zane, who seems to have moved from euphoria to depression over seeing his friends then having to part with them. Nick and AJ arrive last, laughing and looking a little stoned.

“You’re supposed to sell it, not smoke it,” Charlie chides.

“Sorry,” Nick giggles. “We were in this storage shed showing AJ’s stuff to some friends – they wanted a sample. We didn’t smoke any, I swear, but it was a really small storage shed.” The two boys find this immeasurably funny and erupt into a round of boisterous laughter.

Once everyone is settled, I look around the room, feeling a certain sense of warmth toward my friends. Then I feel a certain sense of horniness – eight of us, and then Conner makes nine, now comprise our little clique. When Charlie and I had shared lusty whispers beneath the covers about forming a wank club, we never dreamed it would evolve into this.

We all take seats on the horseshoe couch in the living room. Conner steps up in front of us, and all eyes in the room focus curiously on him. It actually makes me nervous – was it about the pharmaceuticals? The easing tensions on our ship, or the revelations about the French migration? Or was he secretly angry at all of us, wanting to air his grievances in public?

“Thanks for coming,” Conner says to the group. A knot tightens in my stomach.

As usual, I respond to nervousness with silliness.

“I did it!” I exclaim, leaping to my feet and thrusting a finger to the sky. “I killed the dowager duchess. We were lovers, but she cut it off. And after I’d given her my most precious heirloom – the Black Cat Diamond!”

The group stares at me with blank expressions. “You are such a weirdo,” Dog laughs.

I get a “Devon, please” stare from Conner so I sit back down. Across the couch Charlie flashes me a thumbs up, smiling at my antics.

Once everyone (meaning me) is composed, Conner continues. “Anyway,” he says, glancing in my direction with a sarcastic smirk, “I wanted everyone here at once because what I’m about to bring up affects you all, and there is some urgency with the timing. Devon, I apologize – this is really something I should have discussed with you first, but I felt like we needed to act quickly...if we decide to act at all.”

I shrug, as if to say, “I have no idea what you’re talking about, but I’m sure it’s okay you didn’t talk to me first.” Conner now has the rapt attention of the entire group – we all feel a sense of something important coming.

Conner takes a deep breath. “I think we should move in together – officially,” he says, then pauses, as though not really sure how to continue.

Zane leans forward in his seat, looking curious. “You mean to this flat, right?”

Conner nods. “Yeah, there’s this medical officer rule...wait...I thought about how to bring this all up and that’s out of order, let me start over.”

He takes a deep breath. “Okay,” he continues. “Since I’ve known you guys, I’ve noticed how important this place is to all of you.” We look around the room. What had once been a completely empty apartment now looked rather lived-in, our personal belongings having made their way here bit by bit. When I think about it, this did feel like more of a home than my other flat now.

“You all know about the Parisian group coming to live on this ship,” he continues. “Well, you may have wondered where they’re going to live – clearly the first place they’ll fill are the unoccupied areas.”

A certain cloud descends on the group as we consider what Conner’s saying. Putting the newcomers in the unoccupied areas was a certainty – and we were currently sitting in a flat that was technically unoccupied. Léna and her friends moving meant that we were probably going to lose this place.

“Do you think they’ll put them here?” Charlie asks quietly. He looks concerned and a little sickly, and I’m pretty sure I know why. For Charlie this wasn’t becoming like a home, it was his home – he’d lived here exclusively for months.

Conner nods. “Probably – the unoccupied floors in the forward dorms are mostly grouped together, and would make the most sense. But before this thought gets depressing for you, I think I have a way we can keep this place – if you all think it’s a good idea to live together. I can tell you about it, if you’d like to hear it.” Everyone leans in a little closer, indicating that they do.

Conner slowly explains what he’s been thinking about, starting by explaining the housing rules currently in place. “The regulations state that you need four people per bedroom to occupy a flat. If we had the right number of guys, we could ask to be moved into a flat in any occupied area of the ship. This flat isn’t in an occupied area – but it’s about to be. Whether they move the girls here or relocate someone else, this floor will be opened soon. We can request it, if we have the right number of guys to do so.”

“This flat has five bedrooms,” Mike points out. “So if it were officially occupied there would need to be twenty guys assigned to it.” We all nod, agreeing with his math.

“Yes and no,” Conner says. “That’s what I’ve been working on today. Okay, so first of all, I’m a doctor, right?”

Dog snorts. “Let’s hope so, otherwise I’m gonna have to question that finger up my ass.” We all look at him curiously. “What?” he asks defensively. “It’s okay when Devon does it but I can’t?” AJ giggles next to him.

Conner ignores the joke. “This is important,” he says, taking back control of the room. “As a doctor, I fall into a classification of personnel who can request their own private quarters.”

We all look at him blankly. “What do you mean?” Nick asks.

“There are a limited number of physicians on this ship, right?” We all nod. “It’s considered an essential position, so I’m entitled to ask for my own private bedroom. The idea is that you don’t want doctors who are groggy and sleep-deprived making medical decisions, so there are concessions, especially when a ship is short physicians.”

“Wow,” Mike says. “So you could have your own room with Devon?”

Conner nods. “Yeah, but that’s not what I wanted to discuss. I’m thinking we can use the physician-housing rule to try to keep this place – for all of us. If I take the first bedroom on the official roster, we only need to figure out how to fill the other four rooms. If we can, then I can probably get this flat for us permanently and officially.”

“Well I think we definitely want to try,” Charlie remarks immediately.

“No doubt,” Mike agrees. He’s the other full-time unoccupied flat resident, and I know he’ll want to stay as well.

“That’s for you guys to decide,” Conner says. “If the nine of us want to live here, then I can continue explaining my idea on how to make it happen.”

A short discussion ensues. Charlie, Mike, Sean, Dog, Conner and I immediately decide that we would like to live here; Zane remains silent and thoughtful, while Nick and AJ weigh the consequences of moving out of their current rooms. AJ says he’s never really bonded with his roommates and would be willing to consider moving, although he’d like to think about it. Nick is less certain.

“I have some pretty good friends up there,” he says, referring to our official flat in Area 23. “Let’s put me down as a maybe and go from there.”

This is good enough for the group, and good enough for Conner. We all look to Zane. “Well you know me,” he says thoughtfully, and then he smiles. “A flat full of hot and horny guys? I’m in.”

We start talking about the number of total flatmates we’d need to get this place, but Conner stops us. “Before you get ahead of me,” he says, “I have a solution for the second bedroom already – we don’t need people for that one. The bedrooms are actually utilitarian spaces, meaning they don’t necessarily have to be used for housing,” Conner explains. “They can also be designated for other uses.”

“I was thinking about opening a sex shop,” Zane mutters. We all laugh at this.

Conner gets a little annoyed at our childishness. “You guys...seriously – do you want to hear this, or do you want a bunch of French girls moving in here tomorrow?”

The group simmers down and Conner continues. “The reason I bring this up is because Charlie and Mike are both engaged in what is classified as an essential service on the ship – they’re the only providers of clothing other than the automated machines. As such, they’re entitled to a work space.”

“Our store is big enough for that,” Charlie says. “We use the back room as an office.”

“And other things!” Mike exclaims conspiratorially,

Conner ignores Mike and replies to Charlie. “Yes, which is why this is an ideal solution. If we assign bedroom two as Charlie’s office, it’s no longer listed as potential quarters. Of course, in reality he’d continue using his store and we’d put someone in that room, but it will reduce the number of overall people we need on the official list.”

“So now two bedrooms are taken care of,” Sean says.

Conner nods, but then tells us that he’s out of magic tricks. Bedroom one can be assigned to him and bedroom two to Charlie, but the other three will need to have four residents apiece. If we can manage that, he can use his position to request this flat.

“Conner will be listed in one of the rooms, and we need twelve guys for the other three. There are eight of us now,” Dog points out.

Conner shifts his weight from one foot to the other. “Yeah. So that’s what we have to talk about. If we bring four more people in here, we can keep the flat. How we find other flatmates – and how the rooms are eventually divided – is totally up to you guys.”

A vigorous conversation ensues concerning how we find the required residents, and then how the individual rooms might be divided.

Eventually Nick brings up a good point. “Well, we’re going to need some open-minded guys, right?” he asks. Everyone else pauses and he continues. “I mean, we’re a sort of sex club – by which I mean that we’re totally a sex club. We can’t really hide that from anyone living here, we’d have to tell them.”

Everyone agrees, but that makes brainstorming a little harder. We need guys we’re comfortable with, and who would be comfortable with us. “I think I have an idea,” I say eventually. “I think we could get Reid and Patrick to fill two slots. They both know about the group, and they’re cool guys.”

We discuss this possibility. “But aren’t your roomies on the outs?” Sean asks. I shake my head, but then think about what he’s asking and nod. Reid and Patrick were pretending to be at odds so that Patrick could get in with Steven’s group.

“Things are getting better, though,” Zane says. “I bet Dev can convince them to move their official quarters here. From what I hear, Patrick is still listed in 23, right?” He shoots me a knowing glance. Zane is a clever guy, and I get the sense he either knew or just figured out what my friends are up to.

“That’s true,” I reply. “Patrick may or may not actually live here, but I’m sure he’ll be open to moving his official residence on the roster. And I think Reid would live here with us. He’s straight, but he knows about us and is cool with it.”

Nick’s eyes light up. “Would everyone be okay if Jacob were one of the new guys?” Jacob was Nick’s best friend and my fifth roommate at the other flat. I get the sense that Nick will move here if Jacob does, although I have to wonder how comfortable he’ll be letting Jacob know what he gets up to with us.

But I don’t want to discourage Nick. “That’s actually a great idea,” I say enthusiastically. “Depending on where we all want to actually room if this works, moving Reid, Patrick and Jacob together would make sense. We can put them together in one of the rooms...for them not a lot would change, they’d just move over here.”

The group agrees with my assessment – moving Nick’s and my roommates down here solves a big portion of our problem, filling three of the four required spots. Dog moves away from the topic of new roomies, wondering aloud how the other rooms should be divided amongst the nine of us.

Conner chimes in. “That brings up something else I wanted to talk about. I do have one request if I use my position to make this happen. If it’s not okay with everyone we can talk about other options, but I’d still like to bring it up.”

We all stare in his direction. “The official roster will assign me my own room, but I want to make it clear I’m not asking for that – and I’m not even asking for a room with just Devon and me, that would seem unfair,” he says, “It seems clear that some rooms really will need four guys – I’d like it if Devon and I room with Charlie and Mike. I’m hoping that’s not weird to anyone. It’s nothing to do with boy drama or anything...I just like them, and I think the four of us could handle being in a higher density room.”

Mike leans over and whispers to Charlie and the two put on huge grins. They get up from their seats and cross the living space to sit on either side of Conner. “I think I may know why,” Mike says, running a hand up Conner’s shirt.

“Whoa, okay, hehe, stop it,” Conner laughs when Charlie nods and shoves a hand down his pants. “That’s not why. Ooh! Cold fingers!”

Zane puts his feet up on the empty spot created by Mike and Charlie’s absence. “Back to business – how we divide the rooms is moot unless we actually get the flat. We’re up to twelve if we bring in Reid, Patrick and Jacob, and we need thirteen. Who else do we know who might want to live here?”

Finding boy number thirteen proves harder than anything else we’ve talked about tonight.

“What about Ian?” Dog asks after we’ve eliminated several other possibilities, including all of Sean and Dog’s current flatmates, as well as Zane’s. The group discusses the nurse. We’d all gotten to know Ian better since my hospitalization. Several of us were regulars at yoga with him, and he was a pretty cool guy.

“I don’t know,” Conner says. “For one thing, I’m a little weirded at the idea of inviting a coworker to live here – considering,” he laughs. He makes a fair point.

“I actually have an idea,” Charlie says. “Say Devon and Conner live with us, and then we put Nick, Reid, Patrick and Jacob in a room together – that’s eight, right? I’m thinking we put Zane, Sean, Dog and AJ in a room. Would that work for everyone here?”

The last four boys listed discuss it, and say it would work, although we’re not sure where Charlie is going with this. AJ says it sounds like a good match, and then asks, “But that doesn’t solve our problem, does it? Did you have a suggestion for the last guy? And why pack everyone into three rooms like that?”

“I do have a suggestion,” Charlie answers. “Beck Harris.”

We all think about this suggestion. Beck was one of Charlie’s roommates. He was a nice guy, and we all knew him.

“Why Beck?” Sean asks.

Charlie elaborates. “I’m pretty sure Beck knows what we all do together, and I’m also pretty sure he’s cool with it. He’s a decent guy, and I think he’d say yes to moving here. Especially if we offered him his own room – a place where he could play his music twenty-four hours a day.”

I get what Charlie is saying. Beck is a complete and utter music addict – he breathes, eats and shits music, always looking for the next great song. AJ was too, to a lesser extent, which was a big part of why the two were friends.

But a downside to Beck’s love of music was that he was always in trouble with his roommates. The flats were very well insulated – you could blast tunes in one room and not hear it in another, but that obviously didn’t apply if you were sitting in the same room. Beck wanted to play his music around the clock, something that really annoyed his other roomies.

“I think Charlie’s right,” I say. “If everyone is okay letting Beck have a room by himself, he’ll be totally jazzed to live here.” The other guys weigh in, all of them okay with the idea.

“But are you suggesting that we give Beck two rooms?” Dog asks. Charlie’s hypothetical list of thirteen boys has four apiece in the first three rooms and then Beck in a fourth.

Charlie shakes his head. “No…I was thinking we could keep the club room unoccupied. I mean, if that makes sense.”

Shy grins are exchanged – what Charlie is suggesting makes sense. If the club room remained unoccupied, it meant we could have a place to get together. Nick points out that this might help sway Reid and the others. “If we promise to keep the boy play to that space, they’d probably feel more comfortable rooming with us.” Everyone agrees.

“So, it sounds like we have a consensus,” Zane says. “Now we just need to talk to the others and see if we can make this happen.”

“But we need to move fast,” Conner says. We all agree with his assessment, but when he says we should approach our potential new roomies tomorrow I dissent.

“I say we talk to them tonight,” I suggest. “I mean...the sooner the better, right? If we get them on board tonight, we can have Conner and Charlie do their thing tomorrow. If they don’t want to live here, we need to come up with some other guys. You guys didn’t see the other ship – there were tons of people waiting to come over. I have a feeling that they’ll be taking up rooms pretty quickly.”

Conner nods. “Devon is probably right. The sooner we get everything arranged, the better. I actually mentioned moving to Eden in passing. If I get him a list, I think he’ll take care of getting this place for us.” Eden was Conner’s roommate, and although they weren’t especially close, they were friends.

“Helps to know people in high places,” Zane whispers.

Everyone feels energized and excited, but probably also a little concerned. For months we’d been coming here, and the thought of losing our flat weighs on us, but the way Conner has made making it ours officially a possibility has us buzzing.

Charlie gets goofy, then says he wants to go talk to Beck right away. Nick says the same of Jacob, and then the others prompt me to message Reid and Patrick about meeting tonight. The three of us given our “assignments,” the others ask that we text the group as soon as we find out whether the other boys will consider moving here. If any of them say no, we’ll need to meet and discuss new options.

Conner pulls me aside before I leave the flat to rendezvous with Reid and Patrick. “I hope you don’t mind – about all of this,” he says. “I really should have spoken to you first.”

I lean over and kiss him deeply. “You want to move in with me, and that just happens to be overly complicated. You do want to move in with me, right?”

Conner nods bashfully. “Of course,” he replies. “But I also know how important your friends are to you, and you to them. I could have gotten you and me a room up in Topside – maybe a place in one of the flats with three bedrooms. But having your friends scattered all over the ship seemed…off. You guys – we – should be together. It feels right.”

I hug him a little tighter. “If I didn’t have to go talk with Reid and Patrick right now, I’d take you in the other room and fuck you.”

He laughs. “If my ass wasn’t still sore from Disneyland, I’d let you.”

“Blowjobs later?” I ask, hopeful.

“Definitely,” he smiles.

To be continued

Author’s End Notes

I am a nerd, a fact that will come as little surprise to anyone who has read this far. Wallowing in my nerdiness, I recently decided that Devon and Conner needed a vacation, and that there would be no better place for a day off than Disneyland.

Considering the story, this seemed an improbability. But when I thought about it, why wouldn’t one of the most historically important tracts of real estate be preserved and reconstructed on one of the ships? It’s no sillier than anything else in this story. Well, maybe a little.

To further testify to my nerdiness, I also decided to write this chapter completely from within The Happiest Place on Earth. Over the course of several visits, I used my trusty iPad to pen this chapter. I wrote a fair bit of it on the deck of the Pizza restaurant next to Space Mountain, and then another big section while seated at the dance stand mentioned in the chapter. But I wrote it all over the park, really, and what I have to say about that is that it’s NOT EASY to write fiction in the middle of a theme park. It’s noisy, and I was nearly driven insane trying to write Devon and Zane having sex while the Charleston played on a continuous loop – very annoying.

At any rate, that was my silly goal when writing this chapter. I don’t think it’s the first gay scifi erotic soap opera written from within Disneyland, and it’s probably not the last, but I hope it was the silliest.

For those who have never visited the original Disneyland in California, you may be curious about a few of the things in that section of this chapter. Here are a few brief notes about the places you saw in Chapter 19.

- Conner mentions that they saved the “other park,” which we presume is Disney’s California Adventure. The water parks he mentions are not real, although there’s one in planning. Neither is the virtual park. In my imagination, Disney bought the Queen Mary and built a large holographic theme park around it sometime in the 22nd century.

- Space Mountain in Disneyland IS the greatest theme park ride ever.

- There is no Tron ride, my friend just loves Tron so I made one up.

- The submarines currently feature a Finding Nemo theme. I imagined that in the future, with holograms, you could have several ride variations, which Devon mentions.

- Churros - for our foreign readers (and there are a lot of you), a churro is a type of pastry. The dough is chewy and soft, but firmer than a doughnut. The dough is cut into a 14 inch stick and then fried and rolled in cinnamon. It’s high in egg, and if I had to describe the taste, it’s kind of like eating cinnamon french toast, but in stick form.

- At Disneyland, a mint julep is essentially mint flavored lemonade – there is no alcohol. They’re good, but sugary.

- A Dole Whip is a frozen dessert made of pineapple juice. It’s been whipped to have a creamy consistency, something like frozen yogurt, although the taste is pure pineapple.

- Yes, there is a secondary ice cream stand on Main Street. Not quite as I describe, but it is less crowded.

- Space Mountain 3000, a ride in which you use a blaster to score points shooting holographic alien ships while roller-coastering through the darkness of space, does not exist. But it should.

- The Blue Bayou does exist. It’s the fanciest restaurant inside Disneyland, and is made to look like the back porch of a plantation house overlooking a swamp. The potatoes au gratin are famous.

- There is a dance stand next to the castle, where they play swing music, sometimes with a live band. Moonlight Serenade is often the last song of the night. This spot also has historical importance for gay rights. In the 1970’s, a minor disturbance occurred when two boyfriends took to dancing together. Disneyland security asked them to break it up, but after later reviewing the issue, Disney made it official policy to allow same-sex dancing. Disneyland was one of the first companies to establish an official policy on this issue, and later Disney would become one of the first companies to provide medical benefits to same-sex couples, amongst other things.

- A night of sex up in the treehouse? My friend and I spent a day at Disneyland deciding where the boys should have sex at the end of the chapter. We talked about most of the more familiar places. In the end, having sex outside seemed the most romantic. Funny story – we were in line for Indiana Jones, and we were trying to have a “coded” message about positions and other possibilities in various locations. Apparently, not coded enough – in front of us was a dad with his sixteen and ten year old sons. The sixteen year old got a HUGE erection listening to us...too bad for him, he was wearing basketball shorts with (apparently) no underwear. He kept having to hide behind his poor brother, ha ha. At any rate, we decided that although the treehouse is a lesser known attraction, it provided an awesome romantic view that would allow you to have a very memorable time.







                                            Back        Forum Discussion        Next