All Purpose Cheer
by Elina

Chris' reaction to the CD was everything Joey had hoped for.

"Oh my God! Joe! You -" Chris interrupted himself to spring off the couch, "- this is fucking amazing!" Joey's smile spread across his face as he watched Chris ping-pong around the small living area. Chris' eyes grew wider with every title he read.

"'People Who Died'...God, I haven't heard that song in...ooh, and 'Never Say Never'! That is a fucking awesome song. Dirty, I'm telling you. Oh, and -"Chris abruptly raised his eyes to Joey's. "Have you heard this song? 'Sex'?" Before Joey could even shake his head, Chris leaped for the CD player and reverently fed the disc into the bus' sound system. "Oh, man, it's this chick, and she's talking about all the different...just listen." He flipped impatiently past the first eight tracks and stopped at an insistent synth beat. The singer's voice oozed out of the speakers, loaded with sexual promise.

"I'm a goddess, I'm a virgin, I'm a blue movie,

I'm a bitch, I'm a geisha, I'm a little girl

When we make love together..."

Joey's jaw dropped. "Did they - could they - but." Chris cackled at Joey's astonishment. "Dude. Were they allowed to say things like that in the Eighties?"

Chris wriggled in time to the music. "Uh huh. They even played it on the radio and everything." He grinned over his shoulder. "Kinda makes 'Digital Getdown' sound pretty tame, huh?"

Joey nodded, and had to make a conscious effort to close his mouth. He also had to swallow hard a few times - watching Chris squirm around to the slippery beat of the song suddenly left him dry-mouthed. Chris could never just sing along with a song; he had to vamp it up, shake his hips, pout into the nearest mirror. Joey wondered if the steadily increasing beat of his heart had anything to do with Chris doing all those things now, plus raising his arms and shimmying in a most disturbing manner.

Chris' attention was suddenly diverted by the rest of the tracks listed on the CD. "Ooh, I almost forgot about that one...Damn, I used to love that band. What ever happened to them?" His musings trailed off into silence as he flipped the case open and studied the liner notes.

"So, um." Joey cleared his throat. "Yeah. I bought it because I thought you'd like it. And, like, because the first song should be your theme song, or something."

Chris flicked him a smile and turned the CD to Track One.

"Twenty, twenty, twenty-four hours to go,

I wanna be sedated..."

"Oh yeah, baby!" he crowed, and pogoed and headbanged like his life depended on it. Mid-song he stopped and flung his arms around Joey. "Thanks, man. It's perfect."

Joey smiled and patted Chris' back. "No problem. Knew you were bummed about not getting to go out with me and Justin. Figured I'd do something to cheer you up."

"Oh, I'm cheered, I'm cheered." Chris held Joey at arm's length. "I'm so cheered I could kiss you."

Joey felt time grind almost to a standstill, felt each second tick by with agonizing clarity. Say it! his mind screamed. Say, Remind me never to cheer you up again, then, and push him away! But he didn't, and then he didn't, and then he didn't some more. All he did was stare into Chris' eyes, then at his lips; he felt the seconds slipping away, the seconds when he could make a jokey refusal. Next went the seconds when he could make a graceful refusal. Finally all he was left with were the seconds when he couldn't make any refusal at all, the seconds that spoke louder than he ever could. Chris waited expectantly - didn't even flicker - until they hit that last batch of seconds. When they got to those, he blinked, and goggled, a little, and recovered. Then he smiled.

Joey's hands slid from Chris' shoulders to his waist when Chris was halfway back into his arms. They tightened on Chris' shirt at the first touch of Chris' lips on his. They wrapped all the way around and held on when Chris laughed against his mouth, "Okay, the CD is great, but this is way better."


Note 1: Yes, this is a real CD - Sedated in the Eighties, from The Right Stuff Records. It's probably only available in used-CD stores or at garage sales (pub. 1993), so good luck finding it. My copy is borrowed from a coworker.

Note 2: First song is "Sex (I'm A...)" by Berlin. Truly transgressive lyrics for the entire song - lovely. Second song is "I Wanna Be Sedated" by the Ramones, which you really ought to know if you don't want to be a cultural imbecile.

Note 3: No, I don't have a good excuse for cooping up Chris on the bus while Joey and Justin get to go out shopping. I guess I'm just mean.

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