The House on Cherry Street

Chapter 3

The Ford Escort decided somewhere between East Lansing and Grand Rapids to die. We had been refilling the radiator but every twenty miles. We had to stop often to let the motor cool down. Finally, outside of Reed City, Michigan we pulled off of Highway 131. The Escort would go no further. It was evening and no one was around. We didn’t want to leave the car with all our clothes and computers so we sat for a while. A police car stopped and an officer asked if we had a problem. We described how the car was reacting before it stopped. The officer simply said, “Blown a head gasket.”

He asked, “Do you want the name of a towing company?”

“You mean to tow the car to the junk yard.” The officer laughed. Ryan continued, “We’re trying to get to Traverse City to start our jobs.”

“Well, you almost made it. Traverse City is only seventy-five miles away.” As we were talking to the officer his walkie-talkie squawked and he said, “Got to go. Meet me at the diner about a half mile down the road. I would take your computers just in case. I’ll stop over after I answer this call.” We found the grungy bar rather than a restaurant. The parking lot was populated with assorted pickups and rusty cars. An older red Dodge 1500 pickup had ‘For Sale’ handwritten on paper in the side window. The price listed was $1250. There was a phone number.

Once inside the bar it was clear these folks hadn’t heard or didn’t care about ‘social distancing.’ We each ordered a burger and a beer and weren’t carded. As we were finishing the officer walked in and greeted several of the patrons. He walked over to our table. “Made any decisions?”

I said, “No, but do you know who owns the red Dodge pickup outside. We don’t have any intention of repairing the Escort.”

He said, “I’ll find out. Whoever it is will probably be honest about real problems the truck has since I’m asking. Are you guys really interested?”

“Yes, if we can negotiate the price down. We still have to get the Escort towed. Money is tight.” The officer got up and walked outside to take a look at the truck. When the officer returned he loudly asked the bartender who owned the red Dodge. He was directed to a table of four scruffy looking characters in blue jeans and checkered, flannel shirts with cut off sleeves. We couldn’t hear what he was saying but in a couple of minutes he walked over to our table with one of the men.

The guy, who was missing two front teeth, said, “You, fellers, interested in my truck. Needs tires but I take good care of her.”

Ryan firmly said, “How many miles?”

“Hundred fifty.”

“Will you take a thousand cash?” The guy stepped away from the table. The officer was standing above us.

“The guy said a thousand fifty and it’s yours. You said cash, right?”

“Not all of it tonight. We’ve got to find an ATM and withdraw some now and some tomorrow morning. When can you meet us?” As Ryan was speaking I was trying to figure out where we could get a thousand dollars in cash since we both had daily limits on our ATM card. The officer turned away but not before asking us if we had called the tow truck. He said, “I don’t think you should leave your car beside the road over night.”

The truck owner who told us his name was James offered to push us to the bar parking lot. The officer agreed that was a better place. He walked away. We thanked him. That didn’t answer the question of where we were going to spend the night. James asked, “Where you boys sleepin’?”

Ryan said, “In the car I guess. Are there any motels around?”

James said, “Not in this dinky town. If you want you can sleep on my couch and recliner. I go to milk really early and by the time I get back the bank should be open.”

I repeated what Ryan had said, “In order to get enough cash we need to stop at the ATM tonight.”

James looked puzzled and pointed across the bar to the dim lights on top of an ATM. I said, “We’ll take whatever the limit is tonight and get the rest tomorrow.” As it turned out the machine would only disperse two hundred dollars per card. Neither my card nor Ryan’s were rejected. I knew we had drained Ryan’s account but I had enough money to finish paying for the truck.

James returned to his buddies to say “Good bye” before returning to our table. “What’re you boy’s names?” We told him and he suggested we go to his place. We paid for our burgers and went out to his truck. The inside of the cab was clean and he obviously didn’t smoke. We sat on the bench seat and he drove us to our car. He had a reinforced bumper for pushing and without trouble was able to move Ryan’s car down to the emptying parking lot. Ryan locked the car doors and got back into the truck cab. James drove along Highway 131 for about ten minutes before turning off into a trailer camp. He drove slowly back past probably thirty trailers of varying quality and size. He stopped in front of a trailer where a newer Dodge pickup was sitting. James said, “That’s my new fuckin’ truck. Pretty ain’t she.”

I expected to find a mess inside and was pleasantly surprised. When he opened the door and turned on the lights to see a tidy, clean, living space. A big black and white cat hissed as we entered. James said, “Don’t pay him any attention. He only hisses cause he can’t talk.” He turned a couple of additional lights on but seemed to be quietly thinking. He curiously looked at us. “If you boys want to you can sleep in my bed. I don’t mean to suggest you’re queer or anything. You can sleep out here if you want to. I told you I get up fuckin’ early.”

Coolly Ryan said, “We’re roommates at IU. Sleeping together is no problem.”

“Sheets on the bed were clean last week.” The space was tight we stripped right in front of James to our boxer briefs as James pulled off his boots, jeans, shirt, socks leaving only his baggy gray Fruit of the Loom underpants barely clinging to his protruding hip bones. He pulled those off exposing a slim body without any noticeable butt. He said, “I’ll shower tonight and you boys can shower tomorrow. There isn’t much hot water. I need a new water heater. I only got one clean towel.”

Ryan said, “Thanks, James,” as he stepped into the tiny shower enclosure. We didn’t take off our briefs off until we were under the sheets and had turned off the lights. I heard an alarm and could see it was totally dark. I assumed James was off to do the milking. I fell back to sleep until I could feel slight movement of the trailer. I got up planning to pee and didn’t dress. When I opened the door James was standing there. He said, “Good morning, you sleep OK, Randy, right?”

“Slept really well. He turned to load up a pot of coffee. He turned on his radio. I could hear the commentator saying something about cattle prices. He sat down in the recliner.

Wanting to be friendly I said, “How many cows do you milk?”

“Forty-two but two are dry and we don’t know why. Got to call the vet as soon as we finish our business. Is the other guy, Ryan, getting up?” Ryan walked in sporting his morning hardon. James said, “Get dressed so we can get our business done. When you give me the money I have to give some to the bank so you guys can have the title. I have only one payment remaining.”

Ryan drove James’ old truck and he drove his new truck to the Lake-Osceola State Bank. I was unsure if I could get six hundred dollars out of the banks’ ATM. Fortunately, I was able to withdraw four hundred dollars. After conferring with the branch manager of the bank I was allowed to cash a check for two hundred because my check had my address on it. We gave the manager Ryan’s employer information in Traverse City. After the transactions were completed we said “Good bye” to James. We offered to buy him dinner in Traverse City if he could find someone to cover his milking. With a firm handshake for both of us he drove off. Ryan drove our truck to the bar parking lot to unload our clothes. The Escort was exactly where we left it. Even before we started to move our clothes Ryan called the tow truck. I heard him tell the person that the car was going to the junk yard. When the battered tow truck arrived Ryan handed him the title, twenty dollars and said, “It’s all yours.” We were gone as the guy in greasy overalls pulled the car onto the bed of the truck.

It was mid-afternoon by the time we got to Brad’s house in Traverse City. The house was a tidy house on a quiet street. Ryan didn’t knock and walked in. I followed him surprised that he didn’t knock. He called, “Brad, are you home?” There was no answer. “I bet he’s in the garden. Follow me.” We went down the basement stairs and out the back door. There we found naked Brad sitting weeding a small patch of herbs.

Sonny ran to Ryan and licked his extended hand which he pulled back to lovely rub Sonny’s head. Brad slowly got up, walked toward us brushing off his hands and extended his right hand first to Ryan and then to me. Ryan said, “Good to see you man. This is Randall, my roommate. He got a job with my landscaping company, too.”

“Good to see you Ryan. You can see there is plenty to do to get grandmother’s garden in shape. I looked around the enclosed yard. I could see a gazebo and hot tub surrounded by flower beds. There was a high hedge with a gate that must lead to a larger garden. In the far back I could see a structure which I presumed was for starting plants in the spring. Brad was unconcerned as we followed him into the house.

We entered the basement door and Ryan said, “Randall, this is our space.”

To which Brad said, “Ryan, you guys can have the second bedroom upstairs if you want it. I cleaned it out.”

“Down here is fine. It’s close to the inside and outside showers.”

“Gawd, I’m so glad you guys aren’t wearing masks. I have been careful but this quarantine thing has gone on so long. All I do is go to the grocery store and work. Ryan, do you remember I used to work for a company in Grand Rapids? I quit because I didn’t want to live in Grand Rapids. Well, my former boss called and asked if I would return to work. He told me I had to work remotely. I agreed but he didn’t tell my how much work there was going to be. I work so many hours. That’s why I’m so behind with the garden.”

“We start work tomorrow. When we get home we’ll start cleaning up the back garden. Are you going to do the farmer’s market?”

“I hadn’t planned to until you called about coming up. It’s too early to decide.”

Ryan said, “My boss knows we’re here. We got delayed by a day since my car died and we had to buy another one. The truck in the driveway we bought yesterday in Reed City.”

“I’m happy it a pickup. That will make it easier taking the garden clean up to recycling.”

Ryan said, “Let us bring our stuff in. Do you want us to order pizza for dinner?”

Since I didn’t know when you were coming I made spaghetti sauce for pasta. We can have that if it’s OK with you?”

Ryan and I nodded our heads and went outside to the truck. It didn’t take us thirty minutes to bring clothes and computers inside and put them away. We went back upstairs and sat at the breakfast table and watched our naked chef wash the lettuce for a salad and set the pasta water onto the stove. Brad solemnly spoke, “I jumped to the conclusion that you are COVID negative. I have been super careful when I’m out.”

“As far as we know we have not met anyone who has or had COVID 19. I have to admit we haven’t been good about wearing masks. One of the reasons I decided to work landscaping is because it was outside. We wouldn’t have to wear masks.”

I listened as Brad said, “I only wear a mask when I go to the grocery store which is about the only place I have been for the past two months.”

Ryan continued the questioning, “Have you had anyone over?”

“Only one person and he’s the assistant pastor of my church. He comes over to check on me. I fix dinner for the two of us every other week.”

“That’s nice. Will we meet him?”

“He hasn’t been over for a couple of weeks. I’ve been thinking I should call him and invite him.” Brad turned to drop the pasta in the boiling water and stir the already prepared pasta sauce. He sliced onions and tomatoes for the salad before getting dishes and silver ware out to put before us. He said, “Let me put pants and a shirt on so I’m more appropriately dressed.” I smiled as he left us sitting at the kitchen table.

We ate pasta and drank red wine which Brad poured. Ryan asked Brad a question I didn’t understand, “Have you heard much from the guys in Indiana?”

Brad said, “Not much except Ty texted that their planting a big garden to supply their farm stand in South Bend. He was unsure if the market would open. He said he and his new partner, Fred, were doing fine. He told me he hasn’t heard much from Khali.” I sat listening knowing Ryan would fill me in later. The dialogue suggested that Brad liked being with men. I wondered if that meant the young priest from his church shared his interest.

I didn’t get a chance to ask Ryan about the names mentioned until we were driving to work the next morning. He told me there was too much story to tell in the short time. We drove to meet the landscaping crew. Ryan did say that Brad had been badly injured in a bicycle accident. That’s the reason he moved slowly which I had noticed.

We worked hard for three straight days on landscaping a new office building. We moved truck loads of dirt and decorative stone before planting over fifty trees and scrubs. I was dead tired at the end of our day which usually was ten hours long. I said to Ryan at the end of the third day that being on an archeological dig may have been dirty but it wasn’t as hard as landscaping. He laughed. The next day was Saturday and we were in Brad’s garden by eight because it was supposed to be a hot day. Brad had a design for the back garden which first had to be cleaned of last year’s debris. We cleared the quarter acre site before Ryan got behind Brad’s gasoline powered tiller.

I followed him breaking up the clods before following Brad into the greenhouse to organize the seedlings. There were tomatoes, beans, peppers and potato shoots ready to plant. Brad wanted to plant lettuce, spinach, egg plant and carrots from seed. I thought it was late to get started but he said to remember we’re in northern Michigan not southern Indiana.

Man filling a plant pot with soil

Randall in the Starter Shed

Ryan was finishing the clean up as we brought out the plants. We each grabbed a heavy toothed rake and broke up dirt clods. All three of us were clothed in pants and work boots but without shirts. I knew if we didn’t start working naked we were going to look like farmers with deep tan on top and white on the bottom. The nature of our work that Saturday required clothes. We stopped for lunch in Brad’s kitchen where we made sandwiches and drank iced tea. Ryan said, “When we go back we’ll get naked so we can begin to even out our tans.” Brad and I agreed but we decided to continue to wear our boots.

Once outside Ryan pointed up to the two story window and said to Brad, “That was Kahli’s room.”

“Yep, that’s where he first spied on Ty and me.”

“Who lives in the house now? Are they going to spy on us?”

“A newly married young couple live in the house. I am pretty sure they have their bedroom on the first floor. I haven’t noticed anyone at the upstairs window since they moved in.” We returned to the planting shed and brought out the tomato plants. Brad couldn’t kneel comfortably because of his injury so Ryan and I were on our knees as Brad handed us the plants.

Three young men working in the garden

The Boys in the Garden

When the twelve tomato plants were in place with their wire support racks we moved to the far side of the plot to plant the beans and erect the climbing mesh. As Ryan and I were finishing Brad was watering the tomato plants and then the beans. He said, “Enough, I’m beat. Let’s clean up get in the hot tub.”

Ryan said, “Great idea. That tiller took it out of me. It was like fighting me.”

“I’ve got to put some clothes in the washer. I’ll meet you guys outside.” Brad was gone for maybe ten minutes. Ryan and I used the shower outside. Brad returned, sat on a small stool and took off his socks and boots before he stood under the shower sporting a fully extended cock.

Ryan smirked, “Need some help with your stuff.”

Without hesitation Brad said, “Sure, let me wash the dirt off first. I rarely get to have company when I shower.”

Ryan smiled, “We’re here all summer.” Ryan got down on his knees and took Brad’s stuff into his mouth. Brad closed his eyes and held Ryan’s head. I felt uncomfortable because I didn’t have a role to play. I soaped my hands and cleaned Brad’s ass with my intention of bathing it with my tongue. He squirmed as I slowly moved my fingers up and down his crack. I moved him so I could rinse him since Ryan was still busy. I turned off the water, held Brad’s hips and got onto my knees with the intention of licking his ass. As I moved my tongue to his hole I could feel his anal muscle tense as he filled Ryan’s mouth with his cum. I almost missed the main event. I licked his asshole and he didn’t move away.

After he came down from his high he said, “Thanks guys. I was so horny seeing you guys naked this afternoon. For me this was the perfect conclusion. What about you guys?”

I said, “Maybe later we’ll show you what we do best.”

Brad said, “What’s that?”

Ryan snapped, “Fuck in front of an audience.”


I said, “Small audience.” At that with towels over our shoulders we went over to the hot tub in the gazebo. The water was bubbling but not too hot. We agreed that the water without the bubbler was what we wanted. We hadn’t noticed that Brad brought a small cooler which contained beer and soda. He handed each of us took a beer. I said, “Will one of you tell me who Ty, Fred and Kahli are?”

Brad said, “It’s a long story so I’ll condense it. I assume Ryan told you I was injured in a bicycle accident four years ago. Ty was my physical therapist and became my partner. He helped me with grandmother’s garden and he was really a natural naked gardener. We grew enough vegetables to have a small stand at the farmer’s market. Kahli was a high school junior when he first observed us naked in the garden. When Ty and I saw him regularly watching us from his second story window we tricked him into getting naked with us. Before his senior year his family moved but he convinced his family to let him finish high school in Traverse City.

“Over the past several years he finished two years of community college in culinary arts and is a chef at a club in South Bend. When he lived with us we always ate very well because he was naturally a great cook. Ty and I were friends and lovers but I couldn’t give Ty all he wanted because of my injuries. He found Fred who is a great guy. They have a big produce farm near South Bend, Indiana. Ty and I are good friends. If we decide to have a farm stand at the Traverse City market I’m sure he will provide vegetables because they will be ready down there earlier than up here.

“As Ryan knows I moved back from Grand Rapids and got Sonny.” I could see Sonny lying quietly on the rug next to the hot tub. Brad continued, “I do computer work and worked freelance for a year before my old supervisor rehired me but he didn’t require that I live in Grand Rapids. This COVID 19 virus thing took a toll on his staff so he kept giving me more and more work. I was so happy when Ryan called to tell me to he was coming back. Finally, I could talk to someone other than my favorite grocery store clerk.” We all laughed.

Brad said, “You guys relax. I’m going to fire up the grill and cook some steaks. Is that OK with you? We’ll celebrate the garden getting in.”

Ryan said, “Sounds great. We had no plans except bed.” The rest of the evening was pleasant and we were in bed by shortly after nine.

Sunday was another gardening day but not as strenuous as the day before. We really didn’t get started until Brad returned from mass shortly before noon. It was a cooler day so I kept my shorts and shirt on as did the other two guys. Brad had laid out the flower garden for cutting. He had starter flats of begonias, zinnia and marigolds which he wanted to put near the peony plants that were already growing. His grandmother planted those perennials years ago. He also pointed out that there were gladiola bulbs planted in several clumps but we could only tiny spikes were coming up. We worked together for several hours before taking another hot tub/beer break.