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SIX QUEERS CAME OUT OF THE CLOSET



The six of us stood silently waiting for someone to answer the question that Emmett Gillman had just asked. Those in our group at the Children's Home Orphanage had been there for many years now. Most of us were nine and ten-years-old and we knew that we had no chance of ever being adopted. I guess the time had come for us orphans to begin to question the unusual things in life.

Being locked in a dark closet was the normal punishment for anyone using the bathroom, or getting a drink of water, without asking permission. This time, however, it was for the six of us saving the crusts of our bread at supper to eat later that evening.

"Only queers hug men people," whispered Wayne, finally answering Emmett"s question.

"We're all friends, aren't we? If we was to hug one another, does that make us queers too?" quietly asked Tommy.

"Anybody who hugs a man is a queer," said Wayne.

"But I see Larry's daddy hug him in the park almost everyday," blurted out Tommy.

"Shhhhh, be quiet. You'll get us in trouble. That's different. That's his dad," said Wayne.

"Since we ain't got no father or mother, does that mean we can't ever get hugged?" asked Johnny.

No one answered his question. Each and every boy just stood there silently having no idea what to say.

"I don't mind being a queer if someone would hug me," mumbled Emmett, in a soft tone.

"Why does anyone have to hug somebody anyways? Hugs don't mean nothing anyway," I said.

"It means you love people. Don't it?" questioned Emmett.

"It gives you a special feeling when you get a hug," someone said.

"I hugged myself in the mirror one night, when everyone was asleep, and I didn't feel nothing special." I said.

"It don't work when you do it to yourself. Someone has to do it for you," said Wayne.

"The matron hugged me one day 'cause I picked up the clothes she dropped," said Tommy.

"What did it feel like?" I asked.

"I didn't feel nothing but her titties on my face," Tommy snickered.

Childhood laughter filled the small closet. All at once the closet door jerked open, filling the dark room with light.

"Am I going to have to beat the shit out of you little bastards?" screamed the Matron.

"No, ma'am," said Emmett, placing his finger in his mouth.

Each of us stood there in silence, heads down, until the door once again closed.

"Is she gone?" whispered someone.

"I don't see her feet," said Wayne, as he tried to look through the small lit crack at the bottom of the closet door.

As the hours passed it became cold and very damp in the closet. We huddled together as closely as possible in order to keep warm. Once in a while we would fall asleep. We took turns listening for the footsteps of the matron. Once placed in the closet we were not to sit down or to fall asleep. As the hours passed several of the boys began to cry, or whimper, as we all shivered. I heard the matron's alarm clock go off so I began waking everyone.

"You dip-shits are coming out here in about five minutes for breakfast," said the matron, through the door crack. "Any of you piss or shit in your pants last night?" she continued.

"No, ma'am."

"No, ma'am."

"No, ma'am," went our low voices, one after another.

Several of the boys began to cry and I knew that they had used the bathroom in their pants. I also knew they were going to be taken to the sewing room, laid across the wooden table, and beaten with the leather strap.

In a state of fear and mental confusion, each of us, almost in tears, began to hug one another in a state of panic.

The door sounded as if it was going to break down, as the matron hit it with her fist. The door opened and no one said a word as we marched, single file out of the closet. We knew the routine and began to drop our pants and underwear so they could be inspected.

"We ain't gonna tell anyone now that we're all queers, are we?" whispered Emmett, with his teary eyes, wide open.



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