Learning to Fly

by J.J. Janicki

jjjanicki@gmail.com

 

 

 

Part One

 

It was on a whim. At a yard sale, I was thumbing through a box of LPs, when there it was: Abba! Their eponymous third album, released way back in... 1975. That came as a surprise, because I'd always assumed it had been released a year later, when I was ten; but no matter, I still had a turntable that could be reconnected, and at only a buck, why not?

Once home, the first track I played was “S.O.S”, and with my eyes closed, it was as though I was hearing it the first time again, back when I thought it sounded just a little spooky. It was a wonderful kind of spooky, though, almost like being lost in a Grimm Brothers fairy tale.

Then, once that was finished, I placed the needle at the start of the last track on side one – “Bang A-Boomerang” - closed my eyes again...

And when that was over, for a few seconds it was as though I really was ten again, in West Berlin, on the tram, on my way to Tiergarten, wondering if I was going to chicken out once I was there.

Only, in the interest of getting our bearings, now would probably be a good time for a few particulars. We – myself, my mom and my father - were in West Berlin because that's where my father was stationed. He was a Colonel in Army Intelligence, and while he never discussed what they did at the Teufelsberg listening station – beyond saying that it was usually an extremely boring job - I was sure he was actually a spy master and he knew all sorts of secrets. Out of uniform, he looked and acted ordinary enough, but if you know anything about the world of international intrigue, then you know that the best spies are the ones you don't notice. Like my father and also sort of like me back then. I was going to be a super-spy when I grew up... I was already working on it... some...

But nothing ever came of my covert surveillance missions, so that's mostly beside the point.

Even if I still remained observant. So the man sitting across from me on the tram could have been an East German spy easily enough, and Tiergarten was probably crawling with spies, all looking very ordinary while passing on extremely sensitive information as they were pretending to be visiting the zoo or the botanical gardens or maybe looking around up at the top of the Victory Column. I didn't think they'd be up to any dirty tricks while in one of the dark enchanted forests, though.

Unless maybe they knew my father was Col. Harte and I was his son, Colin, and they kidnapped me. In that case, one of those wooded areas would be the perfect place for an ambush. The first time I was in Tiergarten on my own, I could just imagine how that would make my mom feel, because she was the one who kicked me out of the house in the first place!

Overall, I'd say my mom was pretty good, but she wasn't perfect and being long-suffering wasn't one of her stronger points. Even if by now I can understand how playing “S.O.S.”, “Bang A-Boomerang” and “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” over and over and over - not really a hundred times like she said, but still a good many - now I can see how that might get on one's nerves. Especially if one's high-strung and very particular like she was. That probably would have tried even a saint's patience. So since I'd always loved visiting Tiergarten whenever they had the time to take me, she thought maybe I'd like to visit it on my own that afternoon. Right then, before she lost her mind entirely.

So on the one hand, I was proud of myself, because she finally thought I was old enough to go somewhere pretty far off on my own, and I didn't have to be back until about five. But on the other...

Well, never mind the part about being kidnapped, because it wasn't long until I was pretending to be sophisticated and worldly-wise beyond my years: that I knew exactly where I was going, so it was all very commonplace. Besides, I didn't really want my mom to be worrying about me. She was way too fragile and sensitive. And my father would probably be worrying some too, and not only that, he'd probably be blaming it all on her, and that would never do!

I was willing to forgive, sometimes.

But I wasn't always so perfect either, and when I was up on the observation deck of the Victory Column and saw what I thought I was seeing in a meadow not too far away in the park...

Well, the zoo really was of some interest, especially at feeding time, because there were literally thousands of wild and exotic animals, but after seeing just how much some of those Berliners liked being sun worshipers, I guessed I'd be one too.

If I could only get my nerve up, and that first day I couldn't manage it. So of course I felt bad about being a chicken, but on my way back home, I told myself that it was only because I wasn't prepared. Next time, though, I'd take a beach blanket along. In my back pack. Along with some water, some sandwiches and a few comic books... and I'd spread my blanket under a tree near the edge of that meadow... and then if I could just get my nerve up... because it really was big step... and I certainly didn't want anyone to think I was gawking at them, because that's not polite... and also if my mom didn't suddenly decide it wasn't safe to be in the park by myself all day...

So in other words, as of Monday morning, there were quite a few ifs involved, and for awhile it looked like the one involving my mom was going to throw a monkey wrench into everything.

But after mentioning how much I wanted to see the big cats being fed – because I'd missed it last time – and also after asking if it was all right to at least play “S.O.S.”, “Bang A-Boomerang” and “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” until I learned all the words by heart, she finally said it was all right for me to go that afternoon, right after lunch. Just as long as I didn't play those songs any more until I used part of my next week's allowance to get some head phones. She'd even talk to my father about advancing it to me.

So finally we reached a compromise. I'd leave at around eleven and just take along some sandwiches for early that afternoon in my back pack. That worked out pretty well, because now I didn't have to worry about explaining why I was taking my back pack, and fortunately, she didn't check to see what else I had in it. So there was no “What's the beach towel supposed to be for?” And she might have been a little suspicious if she'd seen my Werewolf By Night comic books, and the suntan lotion would have been a dead giveaway. Plus trying not to act anxious and just a little excited was a bit of a problem, but finally I was out of the house, and after a short walk – except I started running once out of my mom's sight...

And so, a little out of breath, I was finally on the tram headed for my grand adventure. But I was still trying to act as though it was all very normal, and honestly, I suppose most ten-year-olds are often excited even when there's no discernible reason to be that way. And I definitely wasn't going to announce my intentions. No, for all the world I was nothing more that a fairly ordinary ten-year-old, nicely and casually dressed in open toe sandals, Boy Scout-type khaki shorts and an “I visited the San Diego Zoo” tee shirt that I was going to take off just as soon as I reached the park, because I didn't want anyone thinking that I was just another typical American who thought their zoos were better.

So once inside the woods leading into the park it was off with that shirt, and it felt wonderful.

Then, about ten minutes later, I was on the grass with the Victory Column over to the side, and it was off with my sandals. That felt awfully nice as well.

Even if I was starting to have some second thoughts as I got closer to the meadow. It seemed at as though the shadow of that column had actually been looming over me, and as if that wasn't bad enough, the statue up at the top looked just a little like my mom! Golden Else as the locals call her. The Goddess of War, and she did not look the least bit amused.

One thing about being ten and not eight or nine is, you're not quite as prone to letting your imagination run completely amuck, though, so I bravely soldiered on. I was not going to chicken out!

Even if hyperventilating wasn't out of the question, and that was especially true once I found a good spot, under a tree, at the edge of the meadow, all to myself. Even if I probably wouldn't need my suntan lotion after all and even if it was in plain view of close to a hundred sunbathers. At least!

Only no one seemed to paying any attention to me.

So I took my backpack off. Then I took the beach blanket out and studiously spread it out just so.

Then I smoothed it out.

Then I decided I needed some water, because next came the big step.

Just as long as I didn't chicken out - and I was definitely thinking about it again - but really, no one seemed to paying me any mind at all, so without giving myself any more time to think, I unfastened my belt, unsnapped the clasp at the waist of my shorts, zipped down...

But then to my horror: Mein Gott! Ich habe meinen Unterhose vergessen! (My God! I forgot my underpants!”)

Except I hadn't, of course. I'd been acutely aware of my missing underpants from the time I woke up and decided not to wear any that morning, so the German was just something I'd rehearsed in case I changed my mind at the very last moment. Only just as before, no one seemed to be paying any attention, so facing probably several hundred German sun worshipers, I slid my khaki shorts down, stepped out of them, and after kicking them aside...

I was like everybody else. Naked. … Aside from a few ladies who were only topless and three guys in Speedos, but they were probably tourists there only to gawk, while I was there...

Well, I'd at least try to be discreet about it, and with that in mind, I guessed it might be a good idea to lie on my stomach for awhile. Not that it seemed that anyone had noticed my stiffy either... but still...

There's no particular order to this but, to be honest, there were more that just a few naked people that I would have just as soon not seen.

Even if there were still quite a few that I wanted to see all I could of, and that included both sexes. At ten, I was very much an equal opportunity voyeur and I'd never seen a naked lady or girl in person before, so I was wondering if they looked liked the pictures I'd seen of them. In the case of paintings and statues, if it showed between their legs, there still didn't seem to be anything to see. But then in the case of a couple of dirty magazines I'd seen... briefly... as in: I don't think I was ready for quite that much information...

But whatever, out there, some looked fairly interesting.

And some of the men looked very handsome and masculine as well. Even if in the case of the grown-ups, I was mostly interested in seeing how big their penises were and how much hair they had, and while some were pretty hairy, I didn't see anyone who was as hairy as my father was. I thought he had way too much hair. But out there, some didn't really have all that much body hair and there were two who didn't have any.

Then there was this: as far as I could tell, I was the only male without a foreskin. Everybody else was unbeschnitten. That made me feel a little awkward.

(Side note: A good way to learn a foreign language is to start with the really interesting words.)

But anyway, there were a few about my age, even if they all seemed to be with their families. The girls didn't look like much of anything and I had seen boys before. But there were a couple of boys I wished I could be friends with.

Except I still had that stiffy. It wasn't going down one iota, and I was starting to think that I might need to go to the bathroom before long.


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

When I was eight, during recess one day a boy in my class was telling me and some other boys about how he'd seen his parents screwing. Only, I had no idea what he was talking about, so that evening I asked my father about it, which led to “the talk, part one”.

So after that was over, I guessed I could wait until I was a lot closer to being an adult before getting to part two.

The disconnect didn't come while he was explaining how babies came to be – that much was fairly interesting – but once he started explaining the screwing part...

Well, he said it was enjoyable, but using rabbits as an example I could easily grasp was unfortunate. My mom was very proper, sometimes to the point of being almost Victorian about it, so the idea of her and my father going at it like rabbits was something I didn't want to think about, and two years later I hadn't changed my mind, which should explain why I'd not yet asked him about that funny tickling sensation I'd start feeling if I was imagining people without their clothes on for too long.

Except usually it was just boys about my age I thought about. Sometimes girls, but more often it was boys, and okay, I might have thought it wouldn't be a good idea to mention that to my father. He was hard to figure out sometimes. For example, not too long before – just before my adventure at Tiergarten, which I'm about to get back to – I was with him at the Officer's Club, about to go swimming. It was one of those father-son deals, and it was often fun, but this time, almost as soon as I was out of my clothes, I popped another stiffy. It went up just like that! And at least I knew enough about it to be embarrassed, as in: “Oh, geez!”, but he just laughed and said it was nothing to worry about, that at my age it could happen for no reason at all, and not only that, as I got older, it would be happening a lot more often.


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

So back to me on my stomach in Tiergarten, still thinking I might need to go to the bathroom pretty soon. That, and wondering how I was supposed to get there if it was where I thought it was. There was a small building on the other side of the meadow, but to reach it I'd have to walk past all those sunbathers, and if I had a stiffy, that wasn't going to happen.

So I guessed I could pull my shorts back on, and then once back to my spot I could take them off again.

Only if I did that it would probably look like I was ashamed of being naked.

So okay, stiffies could happen for no reason at all, just like my father said. Even if there really was a reason for it – in Tiergarten – as opposed to at the Officer's Club when there wasn't – but still, if I had one, then I had one, and it wasn't a big deal.

So I rolled over and sat up. I could see a few people heading towards that building, and almost all of them were still naked as the day they were born, so I was going to do it! Just as naked as they were, but with a stiffy!

Or maybe not. Because while the thought of parading past who knows how many naked sunbathers was making that funny tickle feel a bit more urgent, another problem occurred to me, and this was a major! What if, while I was in the bathroom, somebody ran off with my clothes? Backpack, beach blanket, everything. The others could leave their clothes behind without worrying about it, because it seemed that everybody else was with at least one other person, but I didn't know anybody!

Curiously enough, though, thoughts like that served to dissipate both my erection and that tickling sensation. Not entirely, because I could see another family group with two boys about my age approaching – so of course I wanted to see them too – but at least it seemed that I could stay a little longer. Maybe even for two or three more hours.

So to that end, I decided to read one of my comic books. I could see some other people reading, so I guessed I would too. That way, I could act like I was used to being a naturist. In fact, maybe I really could get used to it. Because if you're popping a stiffy almost every single time, then obviously you're not used to it.

And fortunately, the issue I decided to read again was one of the best Werewolf By Nights ever. Just my opinion, but it was the Marcosa of Death issue. Belaric Marcosa is the arch-nemesis of Werewolf, so we're talking about evil personified. As opposed to Werewolf, who's usually at least a little troubled once the sun comes back up. You sure wouldn't want to invite him to spend the night, because he does have some issues, but whatever, I was at the part where Marcosa was snarling, “SLASH at me all you want, moon beast! It will do you NO GOOD!! ...and Werewolf was snarling back, “How can you hope to KILL a man who is already DEAD!?! … when... (scene shift)...

I noticed a shadow looming over me, and I was startled almost out of my wits.

But at least it wasn't my mom or my father. And it also wasn't an irate adult staring daggers through me with his or her arms akimbo, it was a boy who appeared to be in his early teens, and he was looking at me... quizzically, I'd say.

And he was also fully dressed. Except for his shoes and socks. Those, he was carrying, but aside from that, he had on a white shirt... carelessly untucked on one side... dark dress pants... stylish ones, much like the ones my mom was always wanting me to wear if we were going out or having company or something...

But anyway, he was fully dressed and nice looking and I was completely naked and he was staring at me, so I was having all kinds of really negative thoughts.

But then: “Let me guess,” he said, “You're an American.”

And in reply: “I... um... well...”

So I was still trying to sort all those thoughts out.

Fortunately, though, “It's all right, I come in peace,” he added.

So that was good to hear. Assuming that he wasn't thinking in terms of me being a naked savage, of course... and preying at the edge of my mind there was this idea that he could be an anti-nudity crusader or something... and if he was militant about it, then it made sense that instead of going after the entire herd, he'd start out by picking off somebody sitting all by himself at the very edge... someone small and weak and...

Then he interrupted my still out of control thoughts by getting back to his first question. “But you are an American, am I right?”

“Um... I... uh...how can... I mean...”

How could I tell?”... and then, before I could stammer out anything else, he continued, “I noticed your comic book, and I also noticed it's in English, and beyond that, I don't really think comic books have caught on over here. … But do you mind if I join you for awhile? Just testing the waters, so to speak.”

Then he started unbuttoning his shirt. Surely he wasn't thinking of...

Well, he might be. “Um... no... I mean... well, I don't guess...”

Then he pulled his shirt off and tossed it on top of my backpack. And paused. Almost as though he was modeling, and: “So far, so good. Possibly not the ideal physique...” (he looked almost as underdeveloped as I was, and I was small for my age) … “but with a strenuous regimen of physical exercise, there might yet be some hope.”

Then he started unfastening his pants.

But he was also becoming more talkative, even if I was having trouble following him. I'd been having trouble right from the start, but now...

Mumsie would be having a right proper fit by now...” (as he pushed his pants down below his white briefs) ... “but as my dad would say...” (past his knees) … “there's hardly a point in doing anything if you're not going to give it...” (he was stepping out of them) … “your all.”

Then he folded his pants neatly, leaned over – right in front of me – and placed them atop his shirt. And then...

But now comes the moment of truth,” he continued … (and he hooked his fingers under the waistband of his briefs) … “and inasmuch as there have so far been no unfortunate stirrings... even if it wouldn't have been entirely unexpected... due to my age and the novelty of it all...” (he took a deep breath and closed his eyes) … “Truth shall prevail!” (And down they went!)

Then as he was stepping out of them, he finished, “Or something shall prevail. I have no idea what. But... how do I look?”

Truthfully? He looked stunning. Frail-looking... or slender... and that was good, because his less than ideal physique wasn't likely to make me feel inferior... and he had a small rectangle of dark hair right above his uncircumcised penis. And even if it was larger than mine, it wasn't huge. So it wasn't likely to make me feel all that inferior either. And besides, the fact that my penis was pretty small hadn't ever bothered me, because that's how it had always been. But still, in answer to his last question, I guessed simply stating the obvious was the best idea, so I said, “Well... you look naked.”

He giggled. “How strange. But now that you mention it, why yes, I do feel naked. And also a bit awkward, so... there's enough room for both of us on your towel, so do you mind if I sit with you for a while? We can talk, or we could share your comic book...” (I was probably looking thunderstruck - not in a negative sense, but still open to interpretation) … “or you might happen to have some others with you, or we could marvel at nature and congratulate ourselves on being very progressive - and I can assure you that I have no dishonorable intentions. ...” (snicker) … “Or at least none that I'm likely to be bothering you with. Age difference and all that, you know. But as it is, I feel... rather awkward.”

I don't care,” I said shyly.

And then, as he was settling down beside me, and right after his bare hip brushed up against my bare hip: as in whoa! … in a positive sense, even if neither of us wanted to let on... apparently, because while he didn't jerk away, he did move away a teensy weensy bit... but yes, the plot still seemed to be thickening... or something...

But anyway, “I'm James. And you are...?”

Colin,” I managed.

So that's out of the way. So, what's next? Age and nationality. That might be important. So I'm thirteen, I'm visiting from England with mum and dad, mum's out shopping with some very dear friends and I'm to meet her at the park entrance at 3:30 sharp, which should give us...” (he looked at his watch) … “almost two and a half hours baring anything unfortunate.”

And then, almost to himself, he added ruefully, “And it would help immeasurably if I stop thinking about it.”

So naturally, I was dying to know what he wasn't supposed to be thinking about, but: “Well, I'm Colin... except I just told you that... and I'm ten... well, almost ten and a half...in a couple of months... and you're right, I'm an American, except right now my father's stationed here in Berlin. Because he's a Colonel in the Army. But the thing about being an Army brat... because that's what they call us... Army brats... and that's what we call ourselves, so it's not like bad or anything, but anyway, I've just about lost count of how many different places we've lived in. Okinawa, South Korea, Texas, Virginia, Kentucky, Nebraska, California, you name it, but I guess that's why I'm kind of shy at first because my parents, they say I'm an introvert and I shouldn't worry about it, but sometimes I do, because if you're moving all the time, it's kind of hard to make any real good friends. And... well, I guess that's about all.”

O...kay.” Then after a pause, “My head's still spinning.”

Oh. Sorry. Um... well, I got some more comic books... if you want to look at them... for awhile... but I got a question, all right? Almost everybody else is naked out here... even if at first I think I was like you were... because today was the first time I ever did anything like this either, so I was way nervous until I went ahead and just did it... but my question is: you said something unfortunate could happen and then you said that maybe if you didn't think about it, it wouldn't. So I think I might know what you're talking about, because a little while ago, I was feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom pretty bad, but I was afraid to because I was afraid that while I was gone somebody could run off with my clothes and everything. So is that what you're worried about? Because there's two of us now, so we shouldn't have to worry about it, but anyway...” (And then I looked at him questioningly.)

… “Well, for starters, are you sure you're an introvert? You seemed to be that way at first, but now, not so much.”

I just haven't had anyone even close to my age to really talk to for awhile, I guess.”

Makes sense, because at your age, I was a bit like that as well. Only, here we are, both experiencing the joy of social nudism for the first time, and if I had to guess, I'd say your parents would be every bit as thrilled about it as mine would be if they ever found out. Not very. Mum would faint!

My mom would too, probably. But first, I'd probably hear her yelling at me about a mile away. She's all right most of the time, but some things... like this, I don't think so. She would not be happy, that's why I was worried about somebody running off with my clothes, but... well, maybe this was what you meant when you said if you didn't think about it so much, it wouldn't happen, because once I started reading, it wasn't long until I stopped thinking about having to go to the bathroom. And that's weird, because most of the time, if you have to go... you know, pee... well, then, you just do. … Has that ever happened to you?”

James looked over at me, then after a few seconds, “Shit. I can't believe this. Other boys at my school might have had interesting holidays - aside from the 60 or 70% who are obviously lying - but until now, my holidays have always been boring! So for the sake of propriety, I'm going to roll over on my stomach, because I have a feeling...” (then hurriedly and already on his stomach), “I think I just now set a new personal record.”

What, for turning over on your stomach?”

Maybe that too. But what I mean is... I just now popped another.”

… “I'm not sure what you mean.”

I mean, I'm boned up again.”

Oh. … What's that mean?”

I... ah...have an erection.”

Fortunately, I remembered my father using that word when he was talking about stiffies, so, “Is it the same thing as getting a stiffy?”

He giggled again. “Yeah, Colin. Except as we get a little older, we don't call them that, because that's juvenile.”

Okay, so what do you call them? Because whatever it is, I'm starting to get one again.” Just talking about it could give me one.

Or maybe it was him talking about his. That seemed to be more likely. And if he'd let me see it... because I'd never actually seen one on anyone after they'd started puberty and all...

If you want to be almost formal about it, I suppose you could simply call it an erection. If you wanted to be very formal, then I suppose you'd call it something else entirely. Almost anything, as long as it's diverting attention away from the fact that you actually have one. Because by nature, erections aren't very polite.”

Then after glancing up at my lap, he giggled again and added, “But actually, I think right now, you do have a stiffy. That's probably the best way of describing it, but in a couple of years, it'll be, oh... either a hard-on or a boner. All sorts of names for it once it starts growing, but personally, I'd go with one of those two.”

Then after another pause, “And I also think you should roll over on your stomach now.”

Yeah, that's what I was thinking too.”

Then after I did so, “But not long before you showed up, there was a boy maybe eight or nine... it was hard to tell, really, but he was with his family and running around and he had a boner or a stiffy or an erection or it was just sticking out in front of him or...”

“You've made your point by now, Colin.”

No I haven't, because I haven't finished yet.”

Damn Colin, you are... are you sure you're from this planet?”

No, not always, but anyway, that boy I was telling you about, the one with the erection, it was like nobody cared one way or the other. And I guess his was probably a little bigger than mine. Not that it matters, but my mom... well, I have to wear pajamas in bed at night... except sometimes, I don't, I just take off everything and rumple them up real good... and sometimes she gets upset if I even take my stupid shirt off outside, so yeah, I think she'd care if I had an erection. … `Erection'. I think I like that the best.

… “Except being on my stomach like this is making me feel like I need to go to the bathroom again. So if I can get my nerve up and as long as you stay here so I don't have to worry about somebody going off with my clothes, I might. But see, I wish I could be like that other boy I was telling you about just now, but I'm still not sure if I can ever be like that. And the thing is, it's like a part of me wants everybody seeing it, but then another part of me doesn't, you know?”

Yeah, Colin, I know about wanting something and not wanting it at the same time, and I'm not sure if we'll ever completely outgrow it. Sometimes I hope I will and the sooner the better; at other times I hope it never happens, because it's as though I would have lost something, and I'll never be able to get it back.

But aside from what we probably can't ever change to the here and now, you're not about to piss yourself. It's something else.”

What?” It was definitely sounding interesting.

It'll almost be like magic, and I can take you there. Just as soon as we find someplace else. We can get ourselves slightly lost in some woods, and then once we get out of our clothes again... then you'll see. So do you want to?”

Yes!” Almost like magic? It was sounding very interesting.

Then he started giggling almost like crazy, but...


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

It wasn't almost like magic though, it was!

It started being that way from the time he got out of his clothes. Then when he was right beside me, it was even more magical, and once I found my tongue, more so than that.

And it also felt that way while we were hurriedly pulling our clothes back on. We had our backs tuned to the meadow and we were still making wise about our unfortunate conditions.

Even if his seemed to be a bit more unfortunate than mine. Not hugely so, but still something to look forward to.

And once we were sufficiently lost in a wooded area about a mile from the meadow, getting out of our clothes again was still magic!

Even if our conditions were still “very unfortunate”.

Then he asked, “Can I touch it? You can mine, if you want.”

And when I first felt that electric SHOCK... it was beyond magic.

Then... “You pull on it, like this” … and he started doing it.

And I started doing the same to him.

Then even stupid questions started being like magic. Like for example, when he asked me if it was starting to feel good.

Only it kept feeling better. And better still! It can't POSSIBLY keep building this way, it IS magic!

And then it happened – after his had just happened – and...

And at that point, the spell could have easily been broken, but it wasn't, because he was hugging me up close.

That was the most magical thing of all.


 

If knowing next to nothing about sex is to be defined as innocence, then it's safe to assume that once the genie's out of the bottle, that innocence will soon be lost. I suppose some will be very glad to hear this... even if others might not be. It's still what it is, though. It's life.


 

Part Two



 

I never wanted to embarrass my parents, and I certainly didn't want them to be disappointed in me, so for the most part I was obedient. Meaning: I usually behaved myself at school and made good grades, and when around adults, I had good manners.

Well, except for a few adults who didn't have good manners, but even in cases like that I gradually came to accept that it was usually better to hold my tongue. Even in Miss McDaniel's class. She was my third grade teacher when we were in Fort Hood, Texas, which was where my father was stationed before being transferred to West Berlin, which will soon lead back to Tiergarten and James Davies, who still had almost two hours before having to meet his mum at the park entrance, which was time enough for me to lose some more of my innocence.

But actually my argument with Miss McDaniel ties almost directly into the story I started out with, because I was telling James about it. I had his undivided attention and I wanted to keep it for as long as possible, so here's the gist of it.

Miss McDaniel was asking people in my class for some good examples of how the settlers helped the American Indians, and as far as I was concerned there really weren't any good examples - and not only that, my father said almost the same thing. Because, among other things, our forefathers broke almost every treaty we ever made with them.

But anyway, she was going around the class asking for different examples, and when it was Bethany's turn she said that we'd taught them to wear clothes. And then she tittered. She was such a goody-goody... and she was also a tattle-tale, and consequently she was also the teacher's pet. So I never liked her any more than I liked Miss McDaniel. Not any!

And I'm also sure that, by now, most can see about where this was headed, because when it was my turn, instead of trying to come up with an example of how we'd helped them, I said that I didn't think it was any of our forefathers' business how the Indians dressed, because they were here first. Then things started going slightly sideways when Miss McDaniel cut me off with: “I wasn't asking for a smart mouth answer, Colin, I was asking for an example of how we helped them by bringing them civilization.” And then she looked at me like she was just daring me to disagree, which only served to stir up a bad case of righteous indignation on my part, so I blurted out the very next thing that came to mind, which was...

“Well, okay, the settlers killed almost all the buffalo so the Indians would starve to death.” Then I glared back at her.

So that got me sent to the office, which soon led to Mr. Chambers, the principal, calling my mom and telling her I was being disrespectful again, and then jovially adding that he was glad I hadn't decided to take my clothes off in class to show how much I supported the American Indians. Because, yes, Miss McDaniel had mentioned how it looked like I thought being a naked savage was a good thing. And even though I really did think it was a good idea – as long as it wasn't too cold – I wouldn't have dreamed of taking all my clothes off in front of the whole class... until Mr. Chambers mentioned it.

Not that I ever did, I just thought it would be kind of interesting.

But once I was home, my mom wanted to know if I was still trying to embarrass her to death and grounded me for a week. Later on that evening, though, my father said he'd talk to me, and after telling me that he was a little disappointed because even if I was right, I still needed to respect my teachers - even if they're really dumb – but as long as I promised to try to do better, he'd try to talk my mom into cutting my sentence to just two days.


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

Then, noticing that I seemed to be finished for awhile, James asked, “So did they? Commute your sentence?”

“Does commute mean the same thing as cut shorter?”

“Yes, it does, Colin.”

So not only was I likely to learn some more about sex, I was also likely to improve my vocabulary, and if James was teaching me, I'd be a really good student, but...

I shrugged. “It didn't really matter because... well, because my room's just my own place, you know? So I guess the biggest thing was not having my mom real mad at me, and before long, she said we'd forget about it. If I didn't act like that again in class. At least for awhile.”

“So I'm taking it that your dad's not overly inclined to playing the guilt card, and while your mom seems to have a flair for the dramatic, she's also willing to let bygones be bygones. Is that close to the way it is?”

I made a wry face. “Yeah, I think so. So... what about your parents?”

“My parents.” Then after a pause, “I think as long as I don't reflect badly on them...” then after another pause...

“Actually, by now my most important family is at school. So I could tell you about that if you'd like...”


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

Only we didn't reach any of the extra-curricular activities until later. But we were still in the woods and out of our clothes, and what was really great about it was that even if someone else had happened by, they still wouldn't have seen us unless they were going into the same thicket we were in, and that didn't seem too likely. So it was sort of like it was our hide-out and it was way cool.

But at first he was just telling me about the stuff you'd probably read in one of the school's promotional brochures. Except I got the impression that the school he went to probably didn't even need to advertise, because apparently it was about as exclusive as you can possibly get. It was a very, very prestigious school and, according to James, a lot of the students were absolute snobs. So even though it was an all-boys school, grades 6 through 12 – except in England, they call grades forms, so James would be going into the third form – but in spite of there not being any girls and in spite of it being a boarding school, I didn't think I'd ever fit in there.

And I probably would have been treated as an outsider at first. Then there were those who would never accept me, but James said he'd be my friend. Without proper connections and a lot of money, there was no way I'd ever be going there, but he thought it was a pity, because we'd be special friends.

So then I was thinking that I'd love going to his school.

Even if he hadn't said what special friends did when they were alone. But I was guessing they'd be like we were, and we'd probably end up doing what we'd just done to each other again, so I was certainly looking forward to that!

Only James said we should wait a little while because maybe – if I'd just be patient – he'd show me something that was even more special, but first, he needed to recuperate. I was stiff again almost as soon as he started talking about how he wished I could go to his school, and then when he said we'd probably be special friends, it almost felt like I was glowing inside, and I was definitely ready...

Only he still wasn't. Once into puberty, you can't always get it back up just like that. And he'd already jerked off two other times that day, with the last time being not too long before we did it to each other. Except he called it wanking. I think jerking off sounds better, though. (I'd heard of jerking off, but I didn't know what it was all about until James showed me.) (I wasn't going to ask my father about it... until maybe later. It sounded sort of interesting, but still...)

But anyway, he was telling me how once during games – which is the same as P.E. - they were playing football – which is what we call soccer – and he had a clear path to the goal, when a boy on the other side accidentally grabbed his shorts and all at once they were down around his ankles. But because he hadn't managed to score one bloody goal from the time he'd been there, he wasn't going to let his shorts get in the way and he managed to step one foot out of them and thus, he was the only boy in his form that year to score a goal while naked from the waist down.

So I was wondering. “You mean you didn't have any underwear on?”

“Pants,” James corrected. “But in games, we're not allowed to wear anything underneath our shorts. It's for hygienic reasons.”

“I think once we're in junior high we'll have to wear jock straps underneath ours, but... I bet it feels weird, huh? Not wearing anything at all underneath?”

“At first, it feels odd, but you'd soon get used to it.”

“So what did your teacher say about it?”

“I'm not sure – because I was suddenly aware of being in one of those `be careful what you wish for' situations – but I believe Mr. Pettigrew said, `Good show, Davies! Now if you'll be so kind as to retrieve the rest of your kit, we'll carry on. … Unless, of course, you'd prefer staying as you are.' … And under the circumstances, I did not.”

“Well, I think I know what you meant by being careful what you wish for because something like that kind of happened to me once too, but if you don't mind my asking, what did you mean by that?”

James looked over at me and then, “If you promise to tell me all about what `kind of' happened to you: the whole truth and nothing but the truth, then I'll tell you. So is it a deal?”

“You're going first, right?”

“I will, and if you haven't already noticed, I'm getting another erection.” (It was a semi.) “But if I don't hold anything back, then it's only fair that you shouldn't either. Because I have the feeling there's what you might have told your parents – if it came to that - and then there's the unvarnished truth, and I want the truth!”

And then to demonstrate what would happen if he could somehow know I wasn't telling the truth, he started tickling me all over. And I'm ticklish – and I also didn't want to wet myself and probably him too - so finally I managed, “Okay, okay! I promise!”

So he put it on pause, even if he was still on top of me. His breath smelled like peanut butter and grape jelly. The same as mine did, because I'd given him one of my sandwiches. But I could feel his erection pressing up against my thigh, and by then it seemed to be beyond the semi stage. So if not for the threat of more tickling, I think I could have held out longer, but... “So tell me. Because you said you'd go first.”

He rolled off of me. (And he didn't really have to do that. I liked the way it was just fine.)

And that's an understatement – of course – but anyway, he rolled off, looked up at the sky and sighed. “You might think I'm strange, but actually, it's mostly in the form of a fantasy. But still, admitting to it... well, here goes.

“Until I was eleven, I was tutored at home. That's because a Davies would never go to a state school. It wasn't even worth mentioning, because it was beneath our status. So if you detect a tiny note of bitterness, Colin, you're quite right, because I fucking hated it. To this day, I don't care one iota...”

Then after taking another very deep breath, “Sorry. I shouldn't be acting like a petulant brat.”

“Sometimes, my mom says I'm being petulant too,” I offered.

He giggled. I loved the way he giggled. But then, “By now, I have the impression you can be that way, Colin.”

So since he seemed to be feeling better, I added, “But I'd sure hate to see you with a major note of bitterness, because if you...”

And then he started tickling me again, so after promising to just shut up about it...

He finally almost got to the good part. “Our reasons seem to be different,” he started, “but growing up, I was lonely too. I have two cousins who are about my age, but we didn't visit that often. And one of the two - Rowan – is a bloody idiot.” (Later on, my mom said no, I couldn't say `bloody' either. But...)

“But then there was Graham,” he continued, “He's two years older and I worshiped the ground he walked on. I think you would've liked him as well, because he was a rebel! And he also introduced me to sex. I was about your age, and it was the dirtiest, naughtiest, most exciting thing ever!

Except, first of all, he had to coax me out of my clothes. I don't suppose it was to the point of being a full-blown phobia, but I did not want anyone seeing me naked!

Even if I liked seeing Graham that way. So that was hardly fair of me, and finally, there I was, like the proverbial blushing bride and the earth did not swallow me... even if Graham did soon enough. Not on that first day, but...”

“That last part. I'm not sure what you mean,” I interrupted.

“Patience, Colin. Once I'm finished... and you're finished with your story... because that remark about taking all your clothes off in class, even if you really wouldn't, struck a chord. We might have something in common.”

Really?” Too many big words or not, this was starting to sound interesting!

“Really. But... after finding my place here... ah yes. Here we go, a few months later, we were rummaging about in my uncle's attic and came across a treasure trove of Victorian naughty books. Unfortunately – a bit of foreshadowing here – Graham was rather taken by some of the pictures of extremely naked ladies. Although at least it didn't seem likely that we'd be running across any like that any time soon, so until then, we could continue with what we were up to with each other. So there was always that.

But there were also some interesting erotic novels, and beyond that, more than a few English schoolboy novels. And as you well might have guessed, these novels bore very little resemblance to Tom Brown's School Days.”

“I started reading it one time, but I thought it was too preachy, so I gave up on it,” I interrupted again.

“I agree, but at least there were a few interesting thrashings, which gets us back to the schoolboy novels in my uncle's attic and why to this day, I'd rather not have him being terribly upset with me. A bit peeved, perhaps, beyond that, no.

“Except for all I know, he might have been more interested in being the spankee.”

Then after a shudder, “Still not an interesting idea. I'd say my uncle has a rather large bottom, so I honestly... don't... think... so.”

Then after clearing his throat again: “So. Moving past the thrashings, which often seemed to be more like medieval torture, the biggest reason I found those stories of students being whipped naked so interesting was the simple fact that they were naked. Often in front the entire school. And their penises would be bouncing, or they'd have an erection. And sometimes, the boy was horrified...

But probably not as much as I would have been in the same situation. Once I'd been naked in front of Graham, I had no problems with doing it again. It was like taking my first jump off the high diving board. The first time, it looked to be ten stories down, and it didn't matter whether others had survived the plunge or not, I didn't think I could. Eventually I got my courage up, though, and after that, it was easy. Except that when it comes to taking my clothes off in front of anyone new, it's still not easy – or at least, not at first. But once I've taken the plunge again, it's all right.”

“Yeah, I noticed,” I said. “Now, it's okay and it's way cool, but when you pushed your under... your pants down, at first, you closed your eyes.”

“I did, didn't I?”

“Uh huh.”

“Well, cool!”

Then after another giggle, “Before I started school, I almost worried myself sick. It's proudly traditional, so what if that included corporal punishment? What if it was bare-bottomed? Or what if I couldn't force myself to undress for games and what if to teach me a lesson, I was stripped? What if to reinforce that lesson, I was made to play naked? All the others in their kits, leaving me as the center of attention. And what if I had an erection? My God!

“So, whether it was unlikely or not, I worried, even if at the same time, I was wanking myself silly. Not that there wasn't some guilt afterwards – quite a bit, to be honest – but I'm not so sure that I'd ever want to meet anyone who didn't feel at least some. As far as we know, we're the only species to have that emotion. Whether it's deserved or not, we often feel guilt, but I suppose that at least it gives us drama.

“So. That should explain why when my shorts were pulled down that day, I was wondering if it wasn't poetic justice.”

“What's poetry got to do with it?”

“Justice then. Simple justice.”

“Well, did you have an erection?”

“Not even close.”

“Glad?”

“Immensely!”

“Did you cover yourself up with your hands?”

“By that stage there really wouldn't have been much point in it, would there?”

“Don't guess so. You probably see each other naked often enough anyway.”

“Exactly. Boarding schools are a wonderful cure for modesty.”

“You know, when you said something about jumping off the high dive, I'm even worse. I know how to swim... good enough to keep from drowning anyway, but I still can't make myself go in head-first. I just can't!”

James shrugged. “Do it once, then it'll be easy. Usually, that's all it takes. … But does this have anything to do with the story you promised?”

“No, not really. Um... so you're finished with yours now?”

“Oh, I could go into greater detail, but then we'd have less time for those other activities.”

“Those special ones?”

James nodded.

“Okay! So... Well, okay. You said you really liked Graham. Your cousin. And maybe part of it was that he was older. My father says that's normal, though. Little kids look up to older kids. If they're really good in sports or whatever, if you're little, you might make that older boy almost like your hero, so I guess it's the same as like you said, worshiping the ground he walks on. Not really, but you know...

I mean, nothing ever really happened between me and Chris... at least nothing like today, but he lived next door to us when we were in Fort Hood. The day we moved in, he was with his folks when they came over to welcome us to the neighborhood. And, boy, did I notice him. I was too shy to say anything, but he was twelve. I pretty much figured that much out because his father was bragging on him: about how good a basketball player he was, and how he was on the eighth grade team in spite of only being in seventh grade, and if Chris had been acting real stuck up about it, then I don't think I would've liked him all that much, but he was blushing, like his father was embarrassing him, by saying all that stuff. … Like I should talk, because just before they left, when he started talking to me, I was probably blushing like crazy! I can't help it sometimes.

But, anyway, he said something like: `Don't pay any attention to my dad, he thinks I'm way better than I really am. I hope one day I'm almost as good as he thinks I am, but anyway, just wanted to welcome you to our neighborhood, all right?”

Then after a fairly deep breath, “So that's the first part. Because see, he was a nice guy, but it seemed like there were always lots of other boys his age playing basketball in his driveway, and the problem was, I was only nine and couldn't play worth anything.

“… `Cept my father, he played basketball in high school, not like All-State or anything, but he was still pretty good, and he noticed how I'd be looking out my window and watching them play, so he started helping me out a lot, and least now I can handle the ball pretty good... He says until I have enough strength to do anything besides just throwing the ball up at the basket, I shouldn't worry too much about shooting, because I'd just be learning bad habits... you know, when you're shooting... but I guess the main thing is, I was always wishing I was as good as Chris was. Because he is really good. Even if he says he's not.”

Then I noticed James taking a quick glance at his watch, so taking that as a hint, I made another face and said, “But I guess I should be getting to the part where you were saying you should be careful what you wish for, and I was saying it sort of happened to me too, right?”

“Oh, we still have lots of time, but... yes, let's get to that part.”

“Well, okay then. But you know what? You sort of remind me of Chris. You're about the same size and he was good looking and so are you. … You don't mind me saying that, do you?”

For about a minute I thought he was going to die laughing. Although he did manage to say that he didn't mind and something else about how he guessed I could spend a little more time telling him how good looking he was, but finally, he straightened up and said, “I think you look very nice too, Colin, but...”

Then he looked at me expectantly, so even though I was blushing again... “It's not very long, really. There was a little park not too far away from our house, and behind that, going towards the swimming pool, there were some woods. Not like out here, but there were some good places where nobody could see you, and lots of times in the summer, I'd go out there, and I'd take all my clothes off. It felt good, you know? And besides, in Texas, it gets hot in the summer. But out in those woods, you're in the shade. It's still hot, but it feels better than if you're out in the sun. And I loved being naked.

“But I was also wishing I could go everywhere like that. In Ancient Greece you could – if you were our age – and while I'm pretty sure the American Indians didn't go completely naked, there were some tribes where the boys might as well have been, because all they wore were loin cloths. And they were like short loin cloths.

“But in my private domain – because that's what I was pretending – you went completely naked. Clothes were not allowed. Period.

Only thing was, though, about all I could do after taking my clothes off was just sit there – if I'd known about wanking then, I would have been doing plenty of that – but I didn't know about it, so I'm just sitting there, and pretty soon that gets boring. I wanted to run, and jump, and turn cartwheels... or try turning cartwheels. Sometimes, I almost can, other times, not so hot.

“But anyway, pretty soon I was running and jumping and trying to turn cartwheels... out in the woods still, but not completely hid any more.

“And nobody ever saw me. One time, some girls almost did, but I heard them coming down the path just in the nick of time, so I hid fast!

But then... a few days later, I dared myself to run all the way out to that path. Then I had to do five jumping jacks. Right out in the middle of the path. Because it was like an initiation.

And nobody saw me. Because really, there weren't many people using that path. Maybe like... oh, I don't know, ten or twenty a day, so most of the time... I mean, it was possible, but it was fun taking a chance. I didn't really want anybody to see me, but still...”

“Russian Roulette,” James offered.

And after screwing my face up, “Well... I'm pretty sure I had better than a one out of six chance, but, yeah, I guess. … Except I already had a good excuse just in case somebody did see me, I was going to say that a gang of boys jumped me and took all my clothes off and then ran away just laughing like crazy.

And that's where it starts getting to the part about being careful what you wish for, because I didn't want anybody to see me, but I guess maybe a little, I really did. I haven't figured that part out yet.

But when I dared myself to run all the way to the edge of the woods, on that path, at least I had enough sense not be skipping or jumping or trying to turn cartwheels, because if I ran into somebody, then if you're going to tell them about being jumped by a gang, you're not supposed to be acting like you're happy about it, you know?”

Good thinking, Colin. Very good.”

Yeah, I thought so too. But anyway, I didn't get caught again. Not that time. Even if I almost did. I got to the edge of the woods... beyond that, it was like a big field, and I saw five or six boys heading my way and if they'd happened to be looking in my direction, they would have seen me, sure as the world. But lucky for me, they weren't, so I ducked back into the woods and sneaked back to my clothes and I was saying to myself, `You are just stupid, stupid, stupid!'

“So I didn't do anything like that again... for either three or four days.... Stop laughing, James, it's really not that funny!”

“But it is!”

So I guessed he was liking my story, and finally, after we straightened up, and after another fairly deep breath on my part...

“I was just going to run out to the middle of the path. Not all the way to edge of the woods again. It was like my final test to be a warrior. But I still knew I was taking a dumb chance, and when I almost ran right in to Chris Talley... my next door neighbor, the one I looked up to so much... he said I looked like I was scared to death!

“Colin, your story now tops mine, okay?”

“Well, in a way, it gets even better,” I said proudly, “because at first, he was saying that he going to find those boys and he was going to kick their butts, but then he happened to think about how I was supposed to get back home without my clothes on.

“I mean, the first thing he said... right after something like: `What happened?' - and then I was trying to tell him - about those boys... but anyway, that's when he cut me off with `But first, I guess we need to get out of sight.'

“So we did. Fast. And even if I was fibbing, it was already like he was trying to protect me, you know?”

“Your knight in shining armor.”

“Yeah, pretty much like that. But he thought about it a second or so... and he said it, he said, `Now let me think', and then he said, `Well, okay then. This is what we're going to do. I'm on my way back from swim practice, so I'm still wearing my swim suit underneath my shorts, so nobody can see us, and since my suit'll probably fit you better than my shorts will, I'll let you wear it back.' I'm almost sure that's almost exactly what he said.

“And then, it got even better when he pulled his shirt off , and he said I could wear that too! It was a Houston Astros shirt, and it came about down to my knees. But that meant...”

“You were about to see your knight in shining armor without his armor,” James finished.

“Uh huh. And...”

“Was it nice?”

… “You mean his penis and all?”

“Well, of course!”

“Um... well, he didn't have any hair...or maybe it was just barely starting, I don't know... and I don't guess it was a whole, whole lot bigger than mine was...”

“Had you popped one?”

… “It tickled, so I probably had. … But I already had his shirt on.”

Then, before he could interrupt me again, I finished with, “But the thing is, I think he might have sort of suspected that I wasn't exactly telling him the truth, because for a few seconds after he pulled his shorts and his Speedos off, he was just standing there completely naked and he said something like, `Actually, this feels pretty nice. Are you sure...'

“Then it was like he stopped himself and he sort of shrugged... and... well, then we got dressed.”

“A bit anti-climatically,” James interrupted again.


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

And so after explaining what an anti-climax was, I had to agree. After that, it mostly was.

But him carrying me piggy-back most of the way back to his house was nice, even if he was just being practical. His Speedos were a little large in the waist for me, so until then I was constantly having to pull them back up.

I still had the shorts he let me wear once we were back at his house, though. They were some he'd outgrown, but...

Well, he was really cool. Most twelve-year-olds would have been making no effort to be nice about it. I think if you're twelve or so and you catch a nine-year-old in an embarrassing situation, you're eventually going to tease him mercilessly, but he never did that.

But he was starting to like girls – I could tell, because some were often hanging around – and he had other friends a lot closer to his age.

And besides, before long, I knew we'd be moving again. But still, knowing what I know now, Chris could have done anything he wanted to do with me.

Anything.

Just as James could have.

Even back there.

Because James sure as hell went almost every place else.

And he was also about to drive me out of my mind, because he took his time.

So that's another good word I learned that day: erogenous. I had no idea I had so many erogenous places.

But of course, I followed suit. It wouldn't have been fair if I hadn't, and I wanted to anyway.

But even if he was getting awfully close to it, I still didn't know if he was really going to put my penis in his mouth.

Except then, he got closer still, and with patience not being one of my greater virtues, I decided to kiss his. That's all, I'd just kiss it. And it didn't seem yucky at all, but...

Well, it was a surprise even if it wasn't. What I mean is, by then I had a good idea what he'd meant when he said Graham had swallowed him, but when James suddenly swallowed all of me, I still couldn't believe how good it felt. Not even close. I even had to stop doing what I was doing to him, because all at once, everything was focused between my legs. It was like nothing else existed.

And besides, he told me to relax. Let him do all the work for awhile.

Relaxing was out of the question until my orgasm happened again, though.

But after that, I was very relaxed.

Then, once I was almost recovered, he said I didn't have to do the same to him if I didn't feel quite up to it yet. Exactly what you'd expect from a knight.

But I did want to, and I did. I believed in magic before, and after it was over, I did more than ever.

 


 

Part Three



 

There is nothing wrong with obeying your parents. In fact, it's often better if you do. For example: if they say you should never ever try sticking another fork into an electrical outlet, you really should pay attention. And even in regard to the various social graces you're expected to acquire, there are ways of going along with them without losing your sense of dignity in the process. If a new word heard on the playground or on base is simply unacceptable, you can still think that word. So again, there's nothing wrong with obeying your parents and not doing stuff that would disappoint them...

… But it's not very interesting.

Who's the most interesting character in Tom Sawyer: Tom, who was always full of mischief, or his half-brother Sid who had no troublesome, adventurous ways? It is difficult to have adventures if you're not adventurous, and often, this means doing things you wouldn't want your parents to know about, and more often than not, this includes almost everything that's related to sex. I didn't want my parents to be ashamed of me, but at the same time...

Well, at first I just wanted to do what Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn and Joe Harper did when they decided to run away and become pirates. So they ended up on that island, and in no time at all, they went whooping and prancing out on the bar, and chased each other round and round, shedding clothes as they went, until they were naked.

Put that way, it already sounded glorious, and that was before they were gripping and struggling till the best man ducked his neighbor...until... they all went under in a tangle of white legs and arms.

At not quite nine, the implications of gripping and struggling with arms and legs all tangled up seemed to be...

Interesting.

So when James Davies entered the picture like a visitor from an entirely different world... when he seemed to be asking me whether or not he was moving a little too fast... if I'd been capable of giving him an intelligent answer at that point, I might have said something like, “Oh no. Quite the contrary. I'm starting to think that you're going a little too slow!”

I really liked the way he talked. He was the most fascinating boy I'd ever met. Ever!


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

For two and a half hours, it was like the most wonderful dream I ever could have imagined, then for roughly two years and nine months, nothing else happened. At least nothing like what happened with James, which is why I'll be summarizing at times, but I'm going to start with one constant: we stayed in touch. When he asked if I'd like to be his pen pal – he'd never had one before, but he thought it might be interesting because of us living in different countries – of course I wanted to. At first, we weren't writing about sex any, just ordinary stuff, but I always looked forward to hearing from him. It could make my entire day. And it wasn't long until it was almost like clockwork. One week, I'd have another letter from him; a week later, he'd have another from me. There was always that.

I visited Tiergarten a few more times, but never with the idea of sharing any more social nudism with the Germans. After that afternoon with James, it would have only made me feel a little sad. Besides, those Germans couldn't even speak my language.

And of course that was very unfair, because there was a much greater chance of one of them being able to speak half-intelligible English than there ever was of me being able to speak half-intelligible German. Remotely-intelligible, perhaps, but beyond that, no, not really.

Then, in August, I was in Atlanta, Georgia. My parents were only going to be there for a few weeks, but I'd be living with my grandparents (mom's side of the family), until Christmas break. Then I'd be flying back to West Berlin for Christmas, but after that, I'd be back with my grandparents until summer.

That's because there's a really good private school there. In fact it's one of the top-rated in the country, so of course you had to apply way in advance and everybody who applied wasn't going to get in, not even close. But in spite of that, my parents put in an application for me the year before. Even if there were still all those transcripts to worry about and I had to take some tests, so I didn't think I needed to worry too much about being stuck with my fussy grandparents for close to nine months, because I didn't think I was going to make the cut in the first place. If that disappointed my parents, I could at least say I'd tried. It was a nice school, but still...

In late July the letter from the school came, and I'd been accepted.

No! That was my first reaction. I kept it inside, but actually that was my first, second, third, fourth... right on up to close to my fortieth, because it's one thing to say something like, “I think I'd like going there” almost a year in advance when you're mostly saying that because you know that's what they want to hear, but I never really thought...

It took awhile to get used to it.


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

As it turned out, my grandparents weren't quite as fussy as I'd thought. They were capable of being that way, but they weren't always. Once you got to know them they were pretty nice, almost to the point of being loving. Or, at least, they always said they were very proud of me.

So obviously I was on my best behavior, whether it was boring or not. I used headphones when listening to my stereo because they didn't like loud music. I always went to my room and supposedly to bed at 9:30 on school nights, and sometimes I actually went to bed, but I had headphones and, unless the batteries were needing to be replaced again, a good flashlight, so I could keep reading or whatever under cover. That's sort of a pun. Not undercover, under the cover.

Okay, never mind.

So. What else was there to do? Well, I had a little TV in my room, so I could watch what I wanted to watch and not what they wanted to watch – except after 9:30 on school nights and 10:30 otherwise – but as long as there wasn't a suspicious flickering light filtering out from beneath the doorway, I had my privacy. Even if they did expect me to keep my room almost spotless.

And needless to say, I jerked off a lot.

But aside from that, as we got to know each other better we came to like each other. They liked talking to me and, more and more, I liked talking to them.

School: at first I was mostly trying to be invisible, but within a few weeks I was starting to come out of my shell in class. And there really weren't any bad teachers. They all knew how to make whatever subject they were teaching interesting. And also within a few weeks I had some friends. Fifth grade isn't quite the same as junior high, but it's still important to have a group of friends. I had that, and I didn't have to worry about moving off to some place else. It wasn't going to happen that school year, or when I was in the sixth grade, or when I was in the seventh... I mean, it wouldn't always be the same friends... and there would probably be some new ones... as long as none of them ever knew the truth...

Yeah. That.

So okay. There is nothing wrong with wanting to fit in. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be accepted by your peers. And when you're part of a small circle of friends with lots of shared interests, there is nothing wrong with wanting to keep those friends.

Just as there's nothing wrong with wanting your parents and your grandparents to continue loving you. And I know: if they knew, maybe it would make no difference. Maybe they'd love you just as much. Maybe. Because in the fifth grade, you're afraid to find out.

And in the sixth grade, you're still afraid. So by the time you reach the seventh grade...


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

Well, I could go on with where things left off in the last paragraph – the one left hanging again – but if I did, we'd soon find ourselves in the middle of a tragedy.

Even if by their very nature seventh graders are the most tragic creatures in the entire universe. Caught between childhood and adulthood, nobody truly understands them, nobody appreciates them, nobody can really know just how awful their life really is...

It's almost fucking tragic. (As you get older, you tend to cuss more.)

Or, at least, I did. Not at my grandparents – except for when there was no way of them hearing me – but as my life grew ever more tragic...

I could at least take some solace in knowing that there would a tangible result after I'd jerked off again.

Unless I'd jerked off too many times that day: in that case, there might not be anything beyond a pitiful little dribble. If there was even that much. Honestly, there were times when I had to wonder why I'd even bothered.

Adolescence is awkward, that's all you can say about it. Because, among other things, it's almost never going to be symmetrical. Parts of your body will be growing while other parts haven't gotten the message yet. So your arms end up being way too long, or your legs, or your feet. It's always something.

In my case it was my dick. It started growing when I was a little past twelve, which was almost exactly when it was supposed to start, but the problem was, the rest of me wasn't doing much of anything. I was 4'-11'' and all of 82 pounds, so while I was looking forward to puberty, I still wasn't expecting it to happen any time soon. It looked enormous! Everybody would be making fun of me in gym class! And I was too young to be an exhibit at the fair... and I thought that when it started growing, you were supposed to be getting some hair to go with it...

As it turns out, though, my penis was only slightly above the average size. Even if almost five inches really can appear to be a bit much when you're only 4'-11''. And of course, that was only when it was fully erect… even if it seemed to be getting that way with alarming regularity. There's a time and place for everything, and when you're in front of the class giving an oral book report, that's not one of those times. What is so goddamned erotic about Les Misérables? And in the showers after gym, that is really good!

Fortunately, though, it happens to almost everyone at that age. It doesn't matter if they're straight, gay or in the closet, it happens. And as it turned out, my penis wasn't even the largest in my gym class. Unless I compared its greatest possible length to my height, then it probably was. It could go to 8.145% of my overall height, and to me that seemed to be a bit extreme. Even if I had no way of knowing how the others in my class scored. But if I had to guess, I'd say Joe Kinney would have only been in the neighborhood of 4.5%.

So I had to think that it could have been worse, and beyond that, it wasn't too much longer until I finally had some hair. Not a lot, but at least some.


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

And now a quick update on James.

I finally managed to ask if he was or wasn't gay. I had to, because never once did he mention anything about that when we were in Tiergarten: we were just having sex. And from what he'd told me about his school, I was getting the impression that most of the boys there were just having sex. They were at an age when they wanted to stick it into something and, with no girls, they'd simply stick it into each other. Even if they were discreet about it, because being caught would almost certainly result in expulsion. Bottom line, though, most of those boys would eventually end up being unhappily married. A few might even end up being happily married, but I wasn't concerned about all those other boys - I just wanted to know about James.

So the gist of his reply was: “Well, of course I am, you silly twat!”

Only then he was wanting to know if I was.

And in reply I said I was pretty sure of it.

Only that led to him asking if I was having any sex, and I had to admit that I wasn't.

Excluding jerking off, of course. If nothing else, I often fancied myself. But no, I wasn't having sex with anyone because things in the U.S. weren't like they were in England. Or at least not like they seemed to be at most English boarding schools.

Only he was saying that, statistically, me being the only gay in my class was highly improbable, and I just needed to take a chance. “You finally made yourself go into the water head-first, and nothing bad came of that, so that's how you have to look at finding someone. It's not going to happen unless you take a chance! ”

The gist of my reply was: “Well, that's easy for you to say.”

So. James was unapologetically gay and I was... well, gay. But at least I knew, and at least he knew, so if not for him being on one side of the Atlantic Ocean and me on the other side, it would have been wonderful.


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

And now a little about someone I've so far not mentioned: my favorite cousin, Dusty. He was the only one my age – so that was the first reason I liked him - but he's on my father's side of the family, most of whom still live in south-central Georgia. Rural south-central Georgia, and Dusty and his mom lived way out in the country. It wasn't really on a farm, but it was isolated enough that we could go skinny dipping in their pond. That first happened the summer I was eight, when I spent two weeks with him while my parents were on a cruise. But the first time he said we didn't need to worry about swimming trunks because it was on their property and nobody was likely to see us anyway, it was awesome!

Once he managed to talk me into it, it was, and from then on, I often felt that we had a special bond.

I didn't get to see him every year, though, and that included the summer I was eleven. I'd been away from my parents for several months, so they wanted to spend some quality time with me. And I really didn't mind.

Then the next summer – when I was twelve – my parents decided to fly to Atlanta just before school ended. So they'd spend some time with my grandparents and they could all talk about how well I was doing in school. Then right after that, my parents and I drove down to visit my father's people for a few days. It's only a hundred miles or so. But the thing was, I only spent one night at Dusty's, and that was the night before my parents and I were to head off for points west. We were going to drive all the way across the country, and I was really looking forward to it.

But anyway – back to that one night spent with Dusty – by the time it was over, I was glad I wasn't going to spending any more with him. It was a temporary thing, but in case it's been forgotten, that was when I was worried about my enormous penis. Not that it really was, but I thought so at the time, and what I thought about it was the most important thing, and I didn't want him seeing it. I didn't even want him seeing me in my underwear!

So he didn't. I wore my pajamas that night. Those, and a bathrobe, which I quickly slipped off before diving under the cover. (I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor, while he was in his bed.) So naturally, after wondering why I was all at once so modest, he started picking at me, which only made things worse because I was also very sensitive.

The following Christmas, though, my parents decided it would be nice to spend it with my grandparents for a change, so on Christmas Eve my parents and I drove down to see his folks for just that one day, and I was back to getting along okay with him. Mostly because even though I knew he hadn't forgotten anything about how I'd been acting back in the summer, he wasn't making any cracks about it. And beyond that, after discovering that he'd be out of school for Spring break the same week I'd be out, he was asking if there was any way I could come down there that week, and after thinking about it for only a second or so, I said I'd really like to.


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

And now, to briefly summarize school life up until the Spring break that year: my grades remained good, I finally reached the five foot even mark and I was still jerking off a lot.

Aside from that, nothing happened, so on to Spring break at Dusty's.


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

On Christmas Eve when I saw Dusty, I was saying that I knew he hadn't forgotten how I'd acted back in the summer, but at least he wasn't making any cracks about it. But I wasn't really expecting him to, because most of the time other kinfolk including several aunts and uncles were fairly close by. And besides, we were only there for a few hours.

I figured it would be different if it was just me and him, though. Especially if I was spending the night. Then I was almost positive something more would be said. Thing is, though, I really liked him. It hadn't reached the point of worshiping the ground he walked on, but I did like him, and I didn't want him to think I was a sissy. Even if I'd probably acted that way the summer before. So in the first place, I wanted him to know I was all over that.

Then in the second place, he'd gone out his way to be immodest the summer before. If I was going to be all modest, well, then he'd show me...

So I was really, really hoping he'd show me some more, because this time, I had a plan.

Starting with: pretending to be uncertain again. I'd pulled my shirt off, but that's all. Almost anybody would have thought I was stalling.

And actually I was a little.

But Dusty was getting out of his clothes. Until he was down to his undershorts. And then he turned his back, opened his drawer, pulled out his slightly oversized Georgia Tech basketball shorts, and then...

“You just better not look at me,” he said mockingly, and with that, he hurriedly jerked his undies down and off, and then quickly jerked his basketball shorts on.

Then he turned and added, “That was close!” He was still teasing me.

So good! I shrugged nonchalantly. Or at least I was trying my damnedest. But anyway, “Yeah, well, nice butt.” As if I was teasing him.

And in reply, “You wish.”

I had no idea what that was supposed to mean, but still pretending... “My grandparents... sometimes, they're even fussier than my mom... but since they went to the trouble of packing my pajamas, I guess I might as well wear them.” And with that, I sighed and put my top on. Then I buttoned it. Except for the bottom two buttons. I could almost sense him smirking.

At least until I pulled my jeans and undies off without bothering to turn my back. By then, had some hair and I wanted him to see it and I also wanted him to know that I was past being modest. I guess that was obvious, though, because I still hadn't pulled my bottoms on. I was pretending to look for them in my suitcase.

Only I couldn't find them because I'd stuffed them into the dirty clothes bag at my grandparents.

So, “Shit. They forgot to pack my pajama bottoms. So it looks like I'm not going to be wearing any.”

Then my dick started straightening out. Slowly, but still...

That wasn't how I'd planned it. If things went as I hoped, then it wasn't going to be a problem, but... “Well, apparently, it thinks it's real funny,” I said hurriedly, and with that I dived into bed. With him. Because he'd mentioned that. Said we didn't need to go to all the trouble of pulling that old mattress back out, because there was room enough for both of us in his bed.

So there I was, naked from the waist down and with a hard-on. I think it went all the way up in about two seconds. But he was right, there was room for both of us, so I definitely wasn't trying to invade his personal space – depending, of course, on whether things went as I hoped or not – but almost under my breath I muttered, “Stupid dick! It's always doing that to me. One time it happened while I was giving a book report! In front of the whole class! I put my hand in my pocket real quick, but the way some girls were giggling... it sucks, you know?”

“Yeah, it's happened to me too,” Dusty said shakily.

Shakily. Almost the way I might have sounded when I was asking James if he'd ever felt like he was about to pee even if he didn't really. So that could mean... if I carefully put it just the right way...

“Geronimo!” he half-whispered, and with that, he was practically on top of me. Not so carefully. And he was hard as a brick.

Except he didn't grab my dick – I mean, he touched it, but actually he was yanking on my pubes. Like he was trying to pull them out. And even though I had a half-decent rectangle by then, it was still a fairly recent development, so I managed, “Hey! Leave my hair alone!” and to demonstrate how serious I was about it, I shoved my hand inside the front of his shorts and started yanking at his! I knew he had some, because he'd already started growing a few hairs back in the summer.

“Okay, okay!” he managed, and then, with almost no hesitation at all, he wrapped his hand around my erection. “How's this feel?” he asked. Still sounded a little shaky, though.

And I'm sure I did too. My carefully laid plans had just been shot all to hell.

But I didn't care. “I don't... know,” I squeaked, “does it... feel anything... like... this?” … and then I wrapped my hand around his erection. Oh, WOW!

Then he started pulling on mine. So I started pulling on his. And at some point, I probably should have been taking the initiative, but actually... he wasn't giving me any time!

Even if he could have waited a little longer before managing, “You... know... this doesn't... oh shit... this doesn't... um... make us like gay... or any...” (gasp), “ anything, it's just until we...start going with... girls... okay?”

So was I supposed to tell him I didn't think it was okay? Then? We were jerking each other off right then, and I hadn't had any kind of sex with another boy since James! So...

“Cool with me,” I panted.

“You think... we oughta... get the blanket out of... our way?”

“... Good idea.”


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

If things had stayed just the way they were as of that Spring break - if it had never gone beyond jerking each other off - I still could have lived with it. Because, aside from that one time with James, it was something I'd never come close to experiencing. And not only that, things did seem to be escalating. It did quite a bit the next morning when we woke up and did it again.

I woke up first, and there we were, right up against each other, with him completely naked and all I had on was my pajama top. Then I remembered that just before falling asleep, he'd said I looked kind of sexy like that.

So that in itself was a fairly good indication that things between us could have gone a lot further a lot sooner...

But right then I was worrying about whether he'd be having any second thoughts once he was awake again. I'd heard about that happening.

I needn't have, though, because his eyes suddenly popped open and after yawning, he giggled and then it seemed as if he was asking if I was having any second thoughts. As in: ”You're not uptight or anything about what we did last night are you, because... well, because it's like I said, we're just getting our rocks off until we start dating and stuff, so you're still okay with that?”

So it still wasn't the perfect message, but it was way too early to be worrying any more about it and in reply I said, “If you're not worried, then I'm not either. … So you want to do it again? Right now?”

And of course he did, but this time, as though the thought had just occurred to me, I said, “You know, if we're going to, then we might as well get as much out of it as we can. Because the way I've always heard it, the idea's not supposed to be how fast you can get off, it's like... well, how long can you make it keep feeling better and better and better before it finally happens, know what I mean?”

So that led to what amounted to some heavy petting, and as the week continued, some awfully heavy petting. We weren't limiting ourselves to only doing it right after waking up and just before going to sleep again that night, either. No, we were at it... well, not constantly, but sometimes it almost seemed that way.

Like the last full day I was there that Spring break for example, which was Saturday. I'd had a wonderful week, but the next day I'd be getting on a bus in Macon and on my way back to Atlanta. And to explain one other thing, Aunt Laurie – his mom– worked days, Monday through Friday and then a half day on Saturday, at a cotton mill. And now might also be a good time to explain that she was the black sheep of the family, in that she'd never married and apparently had no intention of ever doing so.

But anyway, we'd already experimented quite a bit on trying to prolong things while we were jerking each other off. When one of us felt like we were getting close, that person would mention it and then the other person would sort of clamp down and limit himself to some gentle stroking. It was always on erogenous zones, though, so it didn't always go exactly as planned. Because if one of us was getting close, then the other was never all that far away either. Not that it ever detracted from our overall enjoyment, but still...

Well, practice makes perfect, and we were still working on it. But then another thing we tried was simply grinding on each other. Face to face, of course, but here the idea was to go at it slowly. So it was more like writhing, I guess, and it always ended up being pretty messy.

So we were getting more adventuresome, and that leads to Saturday morning, when Dusty came up with the bright idea of us pulling and rubbing on each other for a minute and a half and then running all the way to the barn and back. Then once back inside, we'd pull and rub for another minute and a half. We were using the microwave as a timer. So when it dinged, we'd take off running again. And so on and so on, with the idea being that eventually one of us would probably be losing it somewhere between the house and the barn. So the one who lost it first would be the loser, and he'd then have to finish the other person off right then and there, no matter where we were. And he'd be on his knees in front of the winner, so actually...

I could see some potential there. Penalties! It seemed as fair as it could possibly be, and the loser would only be doing it because he'd lost, not because he really wanted to.

We'll not get into that now, though, because I still didn't have the nerve. I was who I was, and that's all there was to it. Later on, after I'd told James about it, he said I was waffling, but he had to admit it was probably a good thing one of us wasn't outside on his knees sucking the other off when Aunt Laurie got home an hour earlier than we were expecting.

But as you might imagine, it was still embarrassing. We'd almost reached the back gate, with our erections leading the way and right on the verge – or at least mine was - when we heard her driving up. So there was no way we could possibly make it back to the house before she got inside and noticed all our clothes in the middle of the floor.

So we dove behind the hedge. And then of course I crouched, but Dusty started giggling! Breathlessly, but I thought he was having a nervous breakdown or something. So I was trying to calm him down and also trying to calm myself down - with very little success, when...

Dusty yelled, “In case you're wondering, momma, we're out back and we'd really appreciate it if you was to throw our clothes outside. Okay?”

And then I looked thunderstruck. I'm absolutely sure of it.

But, “I was wondering about that, and I'm guessing you're also going to tell me that Colin's about to die from embarrassment, so you can tell him I promise not to look. Soon as you get your clothes back on, I'll be waiting in the kitchen.”

We'd both lost our erections by then - and it wasn't due to either of us having an orgasm – but at any rate, it wasn't long until we were dressed again. Only I was still horribly embarrassed, even if Dusty was telling me not to worry too much about it. So of course I was still wondering if he'd lost his mind.

Only, as it turned out, he hadn't, because once we were back inside and seated at the kitchen table, and after Dusty told her we were just playing a dare game, Aunt Laurie said, “Well, don't worry Colin, I ain't telling your folks. Because I got a pretty good idea of how your momma is. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but some people are just particular about certain things, and I reckon your grandparents up in Atlanta are about the same way.

But I know when you're the age you and Dusty are, your hormones are acting up. Lots around here would be taking a belt to their kids if they was to drive up and see their bare behinds going through the back gate, but I don't always see it that way. I know how it was with your daddy, `cause believe it or not, he was once your age himself.”

Then after I looked up with a mixture of embarrassment and ???? - with the additional embarrassment coming from her mentioning that she'd apparently already seen my behind and the question marks coming from just what you'd expect, she continued...

What you have to remember, Colin, is your daddy's my kid brother. Me and him are the two youngest, remember?”

Then she started chuckling, and finished with, “Tell you what. Sometime after you're all grown up, ask him about the time he got caught riding his bicycle through the middle of Barnesville naked. We'd just moved there. So what your daddy told the policeman was, it was his initiation. He was twelve then, and he wanted to be a part of the neighborhood gang – just some boys about your age – but I'll never forget that policeman knocking on our front door, holding Billy by his ear. Still naked as the day he was born, because he'd left all his clothes back at the clubhouse.”

So finally, after a pregnant pause, I asked, “How did grandma and granddaddy take it?”

Not too well at first. And back then it was spare the rod and spoil the child - something I've been sorely tempted to do to Dusty a time or two - take a switch to him... but anyways, I know how boys can get at your age, and I know how you want to make it a big secret. So with me getting off early today, it was an accident and I'm just going to try to forget I ever saw it, all right?”

She would have been a lot more successful in making us believe she'd soon be forgetting if she hadn't kept looking like she was on the verge of busting out laughing again for the rest of the day, but overall...

It was amazing. James seemed to be from a different world, and apparently, Dusty was too.

But speaking of James...


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

I'd already been getting some hints. He'd met someone new, and while he wasn't completely sure, he thought this time, there might be something special going on between them. It started out slow, because at first this other boy – Trevor - was shy. If I thought I was, he really was! But James was patient and said that even though he'd love to have sex with him, it would only be if and when Trevor wanted to. And eventually, he wanted to very much, and after that, he became a different person. He was still shy, but only when they weren't having sex, because when they were, he was insatiable!

Aside from that, though, he was very sweet and gentle. And caring. He cared a lot.

But the gist of my initial reaction was, “Sweet? Did he just say this Trevor person is sweet?

That's only what I thought to myself, though. But I harbored thoughts like that until I finally realized that I really wasn't being fair. Until then, I'd hung onto the hope that one day it would somehow be James and myself, not James and some interloper named Trevor, but from the start, I had to know my hopes weren't very realistic.

And, besides, we were still writing. It wasn't as often as before, but once I told him about Dusty, he was telling me he thought he was the one for me. Just from the way I was describing him. And also, he was saying he was sure lots of boys would say they were going to eventually be interested in girls, but in many cases it was only a cover. He thought it was more likely to be the case in the U.S. than in Europe, because by and large, Americans seemed to be a lot more puritanical. And he'd heard this was especially true in places like rural Georgia. So taking all that into consideration, the fact that we'd been feeling each other off with so much enthusiasm seemed to be a dead give-away.

So the gist of my reply to that was: “I'll think about it then. Very seriously, all right?”

Then a few days later, late the first Sunday morning in May, he called me. All the way from London. He'd done that a couple of times, but this time, he quickly came to the point. “Don't just think about it, do it.”

So (gulp)... “Okay, next time I'm down there, then.”

Promise?”

… “I hereby solemnly... I promise, James.” But already, I was close to having a panic attack.

Very good. Now. When's next time to be?”

Um...” (and for a moment, I was thinking about fibbing... a little... but after a deep breath, “Next weekend. I'm taking a bus down Friday afternoon, and we're going to camp out that night and Saturday...” (No, wait! That's too soon!)

So I hurriedly amended, “But really, once summer vacation starts, it'll probably be better, because I'm going to be down there for most of June. We've already planned it, because my folks aren't going to be here in the States until early July...”

This weekend, Colin.”

Well, um...”

It's going to be all right. From what you've told me, it will be.”

... Well... okay, I will then.”

Then after talking about how miserable their weather was and how nice ours was – just general stuff... we said our goodbyes and then I had a panic attack. Once in my room, it sure felt that way. But...


 

Friday night, May 11th, 1979


 

Much to my relief, I'd already decided that I'd probably not be outing myself until sometime the next day.

Or possibly Sunday morning. After at least two cups of coffee.

Unless of course, I decided at the last moment to be dishonorable and not mention it at all.

But the first thing that happened that night was: I finally jumped off the old railroad bridge. We were camping not too far away from it as it turned out, but anyway, the first time I saw Dusty do it was the summer we were eight. Only I wasn't about to do it then, and as of that night, I still wasn't about to. Of course, Dusty said he'd done it tons of times, and there were no rocks anywhere near the splashdown point and the current wasn't all that strong and it really wasn't all that far down anyway. Possibly thirty feet or so. Which, curiously enough, is about the same height as an Olympic high dive platform, which just might have been the height of the high dive platform James was at first afraid to dive off of.

But it still didn't matter, because I wasn't jumping off that rickety old bridge. I'd walk out on it, but then I'd look down at the dark water rippling below, and... uh uh!

Besides, by then I had an explanation. In a past life, I'd probably been aboard a ship captured by pirates and they'd forced me to walk the plank... or maybe in a more recent past life, I'd been involved with the Mafia and had ended up with cement boots... but whatever, that's why I was so afraid of jumping off that bridge. It had to be it!

Or maybe not, because I still wasn't really dogmatic about my belief in reincarnation, and not too surprisingly Dusty was ignoring it and dragging me back to the then and there. According to him, nothing bad was going to come of it. After I did it just once, I'd see, and he'd almost bet anything that after that, I'd be wanting to do it again, because it almost felt like you were flying. And not only that, during Spring break, I'd said I would. The next time I was down there, which just happened to be right then!

Friday night, May 11th. That was when I was surely going to die.

Only, “You're not going to die, Colin! I've done it hundreds of times, and... I just now remembered something else. Last time, you said if you didn't this time, you'd kiss my ass instead, so I guess you'd better be jumping off tonight.”

When did I say that?”

I'm not sure, but you did.”

I still think he was lying, but: “Um... the soft fleshy part, right?”

You wish. Now get your clothes off and let's go!”

And with that, he started undressing. So I wasn't exactly sure what we were talking about any more.

And apparently I was looking it, because he explained, “We're not getting our clothes wet, because we still might need to sleep in them before the night's over, so hurry up!”

Soo...

I hadn't seen him naked since Spring break, and I'd never reached the point of being tired of seeing him that way, so under the circumstances, I guessed I could at least walk out to the bridge with him.

So we did. Neither of us had a hint of an erection, though. I didn't know what his reason was, but personally, I was still trying to think of another good excuse.

I was thinking very hard about that until we reached where we were supposedly going to jump. Because while a small part of me wanted to stop being a pussy, for the most part, I was still on “he” and not “we”.

I was until he said, “Okay, here's what we're going to do. We're going to climb up together, and then we'll hold hands and on the count of three, Geronimo!”

We were going to hold hands. How romantic.

Except actually, we'd never held hands before, so it did sound romantic.

And besides, if on the count of three, one of us didn't jump, one or both of us could end up banging our heads on the side of the bridge or maybe something else that would be equally awkward... and possibly life-threatening, so...

One... two... three, Geronimo!”

Oh SHIT!

He was right, though. The second time we jumped off, it felt like we were flying. The first time, I was still mostly on petrified, but the second time was awesome!

And us jumping off together again was another nice touch. In fact, if we were still going to be holding hands, I'm pretty sure he could have talked me into making a third jump that night.

But fortunately, he thought the water was every bit as cold as I did. In a few more weeks it would be nice, but not in early May when it was still sometimes getting down into the mid to high fifties at night. On that night it was around sixty. Still not exactly like jumping into the Caribbean.

We had a camp fire, though, and after rubbing each other all over and warming ourselves up – in more than just one way – we were inside the tent and under the cover... and still rubbing on each other. Except now, we weren't as frantic about it. So I still wasn't sure if right then was the best time to bring that other subject up. Oh by the way. I really should have mentioned this earlier, but...

Because if – in spite of all signs to the contrary – the other boy still isn't quite ready for that admission...

Oh, hell. Let's just get it over with.

So I took a deep breath and: “Um, Dusty, there's something I need to tell you, all right?”

He was stroking on my chest right then. And almost certainly about to get back to slowly rubbing around my nipples. But, “Well, I guess there's something I need to tell you too.”


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

When I first jumped off that bridge, I was scared, but deep inside I knew it was going to be all right. I knew, because we were still holding hands. He'd survived the plunge tons of times, so there was no reason to think he wouldn't again. Or that we wouldn't.

And it was the same way inside the tent. All at once, I just knew. We both did. It was going to be all right. It would almost be like we were flying.


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


 

And it was.


 

Thanks very much to my two editors: David Clarke and Tracy Nagurski. They're both opinionated, but it's worked out for the best. In spite of my being at times, fairly stubborn before finally accepting some of their suggestions.

So thanks also, for their patience.