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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 149

               The Untimely Death of J. Cristobal

                 Written in April 1963, this short story was published in
                 respected magazine of the Dominican Order, The Torch,
                 Volume XLVIII, Number 2, February 1964.
                 I.  Author’s Eyewitness Historical Context written
                    July 25, 2004
                 II.  The short story as published in The Torch, Volume
                    XLVIII, Number 2, February 1964
                 III. Eyewitness Illustrations

             I.  Author’s Eyewitness Historical Context written July 25, 2004

             I wrote this story while an innocent boy-seminarian at the Pontifical Col-
             lege Josephinum where from age fourteen to twenty-four I had to listen
             every day at lunch to gory-detailed readings from The Roman Martyrology
             in which Roman soldiers ripped the nipples off Saint Agnes with red hot
             iron pincers; during other lunches, Roman soldiers who had converted to
             Christianity were whipped by pagan Roman soldiers who tied them up
             naked and laid them out on frozen lakes until they died or recanted as one
             did, “but died anyway in a bath of tepid water.” Why, the nudity alone to
             a fourteen-year-old boy was hotter than the gladiators and martyrs in the
             Colosseum in Quo Vadis?
                Thus impressed, I exited the Josephinum forever on December 15,
             1963, as this “J. Cristobal” story was about to go to press. In early 1963,
             I had designed this S&M noir story as an homage to Hemingway’s Span-
             ish stories and to the New Testament reportage of Veronica and her veil
             (the camera), the death of Christ with his mother as witness, and Judas’s
             betrayal of a man-to-man kiss.
                I showed the final typed draft of this story to seminarian David Fell-
             hauer who had recently been my “potty pal” — that was the term — when
             we had shared the same bathroom connecting our two rooms. We had
             been friends for ten years since we were fourteen. Alphabetical seating in
             the classroom had thrown us together as Fellhauer, Fritscher, etc., and I,
             who had never even heard words such as queer, had fixated on the back
             of his straight neck and the burr of his flattop and his handsome Texas
             profile, and I hid mash notes in his Latin book signed “The Phantom.”
             Omigod. We were both fourteen; but as freshmen in 1953, he was already
           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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