The hum of the steel bridge deck grating as my tires contacted it, the gentle pull of the grating on the tires of my pickup truck and slight swerve it caused my tow-behind camper trailer to make as I drove over the Mississippi River from the Iowa side to my home state of Wisconsin, caused me to concentrate more on my driving and distracted me from thinking of my purpose in taking the trip to begin with. The last thing I wanted to do was dump camper and truck into the river or scrape the sides of the trailer on the railings of this very narrow bridge if I happened to meet a semi-truck.
I breathed a sigh of relief as I cleared the bridge and started across the causeway where I would intersect Wisconsin 35 and make the short trip down river to the little river town where I hoped to gain material for another novel. My morning had been rather uneventful, after a stormy night in a county park located in the valleys between the bluffs of Northeast Iowa and, if my camping guide was correct, there was a nice campground, with full hook-ups, near the little community I was traveling to.
There’s something about a fresh cup of morning coffee, laced with the sweet, rich texture of just a dollop of fresh cream, I enjoyed that morning before starting out, that seems to put everything right and proper for the coming day and buoys my spirit in optimistic anticipation. I really had much to be jubilant and optimistic about in spite of the strong winds and heavy rain which emanated from an intense thunder storm passing through the open farmlands and low bluffs along the Mississippi River in Northeast Iowa during the night.
The wind rattled the thirty-two foot camping trailer, rain pelted the sides and cascaded from the slide-outs in the living room and bedroom, bringing me to a full wakefulness, fearful driving rain would leak in around the rubber seals placed to prevent the elements from entering the snug sanctuary I oft-times called home during the late spring through early fall each year. Moreover, the wind, gusting to a trailer rattling velocity, gave me concern the camper just might end up tipped on its side with me bouncing around inside. The four stabilizers, located at each of the four corners of the camper, were sturdy since there was very little rocking as the wind buffeted my temporary home. In spite of the weather, I’d remained dry and secure through the night.
This was the first severe weather I’d encountered so far this early summer since I commenced my annual trek about the highways and byways of the Midwest and upper Great Lakes region. As usual I had no clear destination in mind, until today, when I left home except to travel north, cross the Mississippi somewhere, and head back south two weeks previously. There was no reason to remain at home since there was no one there except me; my bills were paid and banking was done on line. Any mail I received I had forwarded to my parents. Periodic phone calls, via a prepaid cellphone, to them kept me up to date on any mail needing a reply.
My income, in the form of checks or bank drafts, was direct deposited in a bank account at home and the monthly statements were electronic, relieving me of the task of going to the bank or reconciling accounts with paper statements. I’m not one of those “fabulously, filthy rich” individuals one reads about in fiction stories or a lottery winner; far from it. Yet, my income provides a comfortable lifestyle and sufficient to afford me the opportunity to own (outright-no payments) the camper and pickup truck to tow it with. The small three bedroom home, on forty acres along the Pecatonica River, I owned was well on its way to being paid for as well with only eight years left on the note. All in all, I earn more than some but not as much as others and had no complaints!
After consuming my morning wake-up brew, I walked a couple of steps to the coffee maker on the kitchen counter, refilled my cup, and resumed sitting in my chair, chuckling. For a relatively reasonable fee, the park, where I’d spent the night, provided electricity, sewer and water hookup, cable television, and WIFI connection. It was all I needed for my work. Self-employed and working from home, or in this case, from the camper, eliminated the need to check in with a boss or punch a time clock. Working at home required discipline and determination and not something the weak-willed or non-persevering or those easily distracted could handle. I can be distracted that was for certain, but usually a self-administered vigorous hand-job brought the situation under control.
The only exciting thing I’d found, up until now, was a young cyclist pedaling his ass down the highway, heading east as well. I’d encountered the young man east of Waverly, Iowa a couple of days earlier. Frankly, I couldn’t really describe what he looked like, facially, but I did zero in on the skin-tight riding pants he was wearing, showing a nice bratwurst-sized appendage lurking down one leg and two wobbly golf-ball sized gonads jiggling up against the other thigh. I figured the young man was probably my age or younger or perhaps older, really slim (as bespeaks most serious cyclists), perhaps two or three inches taller or more, and maybe a little heavier, but not much. The image provided some real serious fantasy jack-off sessions the past couple of days.
I’d released a deep sigh of resignation, finally deciding it was best quit fantasying and get to work. Work, for me, was writing, not just any writing, but writing straight or “hetero” romance fiction! Being a writer in this genre was as far away from my original goals as looking at myself naked in front of a mirror and seeing reflected a handsome young man with a ten inch cock is. Not going to happen boys and girls!
I’m a realist, but a realist with a very active imagination. Not only am I a realist, but a gay one at that! Imagine that; a gay man writing straight, romance fiction! What a hoot! But that may change today, if the story I was pursuing pans out.
It was that active imagination and my lack of what I considered gainful employment which led me to my present employment status. I graduated from college five years previously with a major in History and a minor in Journalism and set about seeking a job in either my major or minor field. I’m not a very outgoing person or boisterous or very tall. I’m about five foot seven inches; weigh about one hundred twenty-five pounds on a good day; not very athletic or “ripped;” comely but not eye-dazzling attractive, and it all probably worked against me in the very competitive job market. It’s not that my skills, qualifications, and talents weren’t highly acceptable; the market was flooded with college graduates and the jobs extremely limited. The crash of 2008 had taken its toll!
What I really saw in the mirror was really a rather plain, ordinary looking guy. It did little to boost my ego when Momma would tell me I had a “killer” smile. Well, it didn’t do me much good since I never got an interview in my chosen field, despite all of the resumes I sent out. Moving to Plan B- (everyone has to have a “plan B”); I moved back home to live with the folks, applied for and got a job in a fast-food restaurant! I hated the job, but it provided a limited income – temporary of course, I thought at the time, at least until something better came along.
One day, while visiting one of my older sisters and, for the lack of anything to read while waiting for her to round up the rug-rats for lunch, I accidentally or just happen-chance picked up one of her paperback romance fiction novels she seemed to enjoy so much. I questioned her appetite for such shallow material, after the gaggling, gobbling, hoard was fed, and she kindly but firmly informed me she enjoyed the books since reading them gave her a chance to relax and escape from reality for just a little bit.
“In fact,” she’d continued, “Mother and our sister both read them with the same enthusiasm and results.”
She had boxes of the books! As I thumbed through first one book and then another, an idea began forming in my head. Under pain of death or dismemberment if they weren’t returned, my sister gave me loan of an apple box full of the paperbacks.
The story lines in the books followed similar patterns, with variations; a young, innocent lady goes on some sort of an adventure; somewhere along the way, a handsome, virile stranger enters her life. The young lady generally faces some dire predicament; is accosted by evil or mean other people; the handsome stranger rescues her, kidnaps her, or opposes her in some sort of financial or property deal. The stranger and the lady joust about a bit trying to avoid falling in love, but they end up happily married with at least one pre-marital romp in the sack where the young lady loses her virginity. It really boils down to the basic precepts of fiction writing I learned at the university; a story consists of the hero or heroine taking a journey or a stranger comes to town. The story may consist of both, but it does revolve around some sort of conflict.
The paper backs I read through had those elements in them plus a healthy dose of sex- not raw, dirty, filthy sex, but loving, romantic sex with just a touch of roughness. Instead of writing, “he took her behind the barn, tossed her legs over his shoulders and fucked her like the rotor rooter man cleaning out a three inch pipe with four inch tool;” the readers of such paperback fiction preferred it be written, “Nestled in the comforts and sweet smells of newly mowed hay, in the mow of the barn, the two lovers came together. Feeling her soft mound, warm, wet, and quivering with desire, he firmly slipped his large, stiff, and throbbing manhood into her warm, welcoming sheath, and lovingly brought them both to a shuddering climax.”
Oh yes, there was much to be learned from those paperbacks of my sisters and the more I read, the more convinced I became I could write similar stories. The key would be finding the right agent and publisher. My job at the burger joint was not all that intellectually challenging, so I could formulate story lines, plots, and characters as I worked. After work, in the quiet of my room, I would then transfer those story lines, plots, and characters, with additional verbiage, to my laptop in the form of rough drafts where I could work and refine them later.
My fields of study, history and journalism at the university, gave me a solid base to start. I decided to write historical romance fiction placed in the middle to late nineteenth century up to and just including the beginning of the twentieth century with the story lines based in the United States. Most of the action in the stories occurred west of the Mississippi River, but did not exclude the south towards New Orleans or north near the Great Lakes. The time period I’d chosen was a time of westward expansion and heightened adventure, along with plenty of conflict involving the Civil War, the Indian wars of the frontier, and settlement by Europeans in the Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley, giving me plenty of territory and a wide time span, all of it ripe for adventure, love, and sex!
I disciplined myself never let a day go by without at least two hours at my laptop. I found I could complete a two hundred fifty to three hundred fifty page manuscript in about six weeks. After the draft was completed, I edited it, and re-edited it and sent my first manuscript to various publishers who, after perusing it, rejected my efforts. I’d been rejected enough times to cause a preacher to cuss, so I contacted one of my former journalism professors on campus and, with his advice and consent, sought out one of his former students who now was a literary agent. The former student had access to a wide selection of publishers and agreed to act as my literary agent.
Having her as my literary agent made all the difference in the world! She helped me find an editor to help refine my writing style and then marketed the manuscripts to potential publishers. With her help and encouragement, I sold my first romance novel, The Western Winds of Love, (I really wanted to title it “The Lady Farts When Fucked” but thought better of it). It sold modestly, but was the beginning of a series of sales of manuscripts and a nice income for me. My stories were not as popular as some of the better known authors, but enough I could quit my burger job and begin living a comfortable, but not extravagant life-style. I moved out of my folks house, bought my own place, and the camper and truck.
I wrote under the pseudonym “Annie Palmer;” or as I often signed books that were ordered autographed, “A. Palmer.” I chose a female name since my readers generally preferred their authors to be female. If the truth be known, I chose the name simply because the only action I ever had with sex was handling my own sex organ with my hand and not sex of any sort with someone else, but, thank God, I did have an active imagination!
My present good fortune was the sale of my latest novel, “The Yankee and the Frontier Lady” and, although I didn’t receive an overwhelming sum for the initial publishing and first sales, my agent seemed confident the sales would increase and, hence, the royalties; along with my novels for sale in bookstores and on line, she was confident it would be more than sufficient to continue my current life style and still add a bit more cash assets to my bank accounts. The publisher voiced his optimism as well, since my novels were a steady seller. Needless to say, I was well pleased as well with her report and encouragement!
My travels throughout each summer since I purchased the camper provided me with multitudes of ideas for my novels. The people I met, the places I visited, and the local stories told in coffee shops, small taverns, and in small town newspapers all provided grist and fodder for stories. Each evening I’d sit down at the dining table and record my notes or thoughts on five by seven note cards.
These cards, as well as any pamphlets, publications, or reference notes from libraries or visits with locals, were filed under topics or tentative story titles. Pictures I took with my digital camera, for reference while I wrote or to refresh my memory concerning a particular place, were stored in similarly named folders on the laptop. There were times, such as now, a story was taking shape in my mind, developing as a result of my journey and what I’d read in a small, campus newspaper. However, this story was a different genre and one, if I wrote it, would have to be authored under my real name, Chad Bentley. You see, it was to be a gay story; one I hoped would appeal to those individuals of the LGBT community who sought more than just a “wank” tale. I wrote straight romance for the straight community and I really wanted to write gay romance for the gay community!
Entering the small town from the north, I was immediately struck by its cleanliness; the small downtown business district, with storefronts that exuded a “welcome” greeting through their signage, and well-appointed exterior and a “stay with us a while” atmosphere, settled into my core a warm, comfortable feeling. The businesses apparent as I drove through, were an IGA grocery store, a small (perhaps twenty rooms) motel, a small bank, post office, a couple of filling stations (with mechanics according to the signs), several gift shops, a small restaurant or café, a fire station and community center, a quilt shop, a couple of bait shops, a public boat ramp, a bar (“Danny’s Riverside Pub and Eatery’) with a good-sized parking lot, and surprisingly, just on the south edge of town, a rather nice supper club also overlooking the river. I slowed as it passed it, noticing a really large parking lot, and read the sign; “The Rusty Scupper – Fine Food and Dining at Your Leisure. Open nightly at 4:00pm – Sundays – 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.”
Interspersed on my left, side streets led up the sloping terrain to houses, again, all neat and clean. On the river side of the highway or west side, between the river and the highway, was a double set of railroad tracks. The tracks bypassed the businesses located along the highway and river, but I was willing to bet, when a train went through, it would rattle some windows. If a person was going to launch a boat, the railroad tracks needed to be crossed.
No sooner did I pass the “Rusty Scupper”, less than two blocks away I spotted the sign for “Riverview Campground and Marina,” hooked a right at the drive, crossed the railroad tracks, and drove over a short causeway to the entrance. A quick look around confirmed the campground was on an island! I registered and was given directions to my camping site and drove to it. It didn’t take much maneuvering to back my rig into the assigned campsite, unlike others I’ve encountered during my travels. Sewer, water, electric, WIFI, and cable hookups were included in the camping fees.
It was a nice campground and campsite. The campsite I was assigned had a cement pad, a fire ring (wood available at the campground office), a picnic table, and a fantastic view to the west of the Mississippi River and the bluffs across the river on the Iowa side. Once I’d set up, leveled the camper and lowered the front and rear stabilizing jacks, extended the living room slide and the bedroom slide, and hooked up the utilities, I fixed a brandy old-fashioned, picked up the newspaper article that sparked my interest to begin with, and went outside, sat at the picnic table, took a long sip of my drink, and re-read it.
The article really wasn’t very long; just a short story about two men, after knowing and loving each other for sixty-two years, married, once it became legal in their home state. There was little more, almost like a wedding announcement, only the writer, T. Jackson, commented, “In a day and age where approximately fifty percent of all marriages end in separation, isn’t sixty-two years something to celebrate as newly-weds – finally!”
It was that statement; almost a challenge, which really piqued my interest. I wanted to meet these two men, Bill Iverson and Dan Fielding; interview them and possibly, with their permission, tell their story either factually or as historical based, creative non-fiction!
Thank you for reading There's Something About a Fielding Boy – Chapter One – “If a man, sitting alone, cannot dream strange things, and make them look like truth, he need never try to write romance” (Nathaniel Hawthorne).
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or locales is entirely coincidental or used in a fictional content.
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