Cautious

“Are the doors locked?” she asked suddenly from her corner of the passenger seat.

Jolted by the question, he caught himself feeling along the top of the door for the plunger to press to lock it. That was years ago-when he was a kid. Cars don’t have those kinds of locks anymore. Just sleek buttons and mechanisms that lock automatically at a certain speed. He knew that. Why couldn’t he tell her?

Instead he said, “What are you afraid of?”

“You don’t have to be afraid to be cautious,” she said.

Cautious. The word struck him as strange just then. He’d have said, ‘careful’ as would most people. Why ‘cautious’?

The drizzle had turned into full-on rain pinging off the roof and sheeting down the windshield. The pressing sky atop the black night made it impossible to see the woods and fields that were out there. “There’s nobody out here to be…cautious of”, he said.

“All the more reason”, she answered looking out her window as if there were something to see.

She’s too young for me, he thought. The scent of roses he thought she wore was really bubble gum-or smelled like it anyway. Maybe it wasn’t her youth. Maybe she was too smart for him. Or too dumb. Or too tall-maybe too short. Too whiny, too cold, too butch, too soft, too dark, too light. Too something, he knew that. But why worry about it now? He didn’t have to win her. Didn’t have to impress her. She was here.

His wife was right. He thought too much about everything-drove himself crazy. Last week he’d had a nosebleed right at the kitchen table. She’d said it was high blood pressure from him worrying so much over every little thing. Like she was a freaking nurse.

Back home she sat at the same table listening to hockey on the radio. She liked it better that way; watching it made her too nervous. She poured a thick toss of Sambuca into her cup – the only way she could abide decaf. Her ma had called, worried the rain was going to turn to snow. “It’s forty degrees, Ma!” she had to yell into the phone. “It won’t snow.”

He sighed and reclined the seat slightly. Fumbling, he loosened his belt and unsnapped his pants. Rising on her knees, she bent over the console and gently pulled him out of his pants; a soft crippled bird. “Ok”, she said low. “Let’s see what we can do with you.”

He closed his eyes and tried not to think about it.

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Night Lights

Liking the feel of muted life in the middle of the night, Lori kept the house dimly lit with strategically placed nightlights and tiny touch lamps. She wandered into-then through-the kitchen after pausing to gaze at but not see the immaculate countertops in the shadows. Then through the small dining room dragging a finger along the dark wood table, feeling the bumps and ridges of the hand-hewn oak. She was headed to the living room in the back of the house where a camelback clock that had been her grandfather’s pulsed, whirred and dinged the hours so long as she wound it ever other day. And she didn’t miss. It was her home’s pulse.

Naked but for a T-shirt that was just long enough to reach her thighs, she peered closely at the clock seeing naught but her eyes shining back in the glare of one of her hidden luminaries. She gently opened the glass face to better see the minute hand twitch with every tiny sweep of the internal workings. She paced it and tried to steady her breathing-still not recovered from the almost forgotten nightmare.

The dream was familiar-not in the details but the feel of it and what it had left behind. It had been dark in her dream-darker than it could ever be in her house. She was on her belly and sliding down something. A hill, a tilted floor; something impossibly slippery. She heard a voice and felt a hand on her. The voice was Uncle Red’s she knew. Not him later, sick and ravaged, but him fifteen or twenty years ago-soft and clear. She didn’t know who’s hand it was, or why it was on her calf. But it had to have been his. It was trying to pull her back-keeping her from sliding into a still darker place. Maybe. Maybe it was pushing her. She had jolted awake. She breathed in time with the minute hand’s twitch; each breath deeper, less a gulp.

Her belly bothered her. Not inside, she didn’t feel sick at all. It was more the look of it. She thought it too round and puffy-she could hold it in her hands. Could rub it all over. Her reflection in the sliding door showed her no longer slender, but not fat. Tall and pale with smudges of darkness reflecting the jumble of black hair sticking out of her head and the thatch below her belly which she still rubbed and rubbed; an angst-ridden Buddha. She hadn’t always had it-the belly. When she was younger it was as flat as the girls on TV.  She wanted that belly back.

She sat on the end of the couch like she and her uncle had, facing the dark TV. Her reflection was there too. She studied it and the empty spot at the other end of the couch which was Red’s end. She glanced that way quickly as if to catch him sitting there, casting no reflection but watching her none the less. He wasn’t there. But he was everywhere.

She thought for a moment that she would lie on the couch. Just lie there on her belly for a moment and pull her shirt up. She’d done it before-lain there exposed until the jitters passed or the weight pressing down, lifted. She’d awoken that way some mornings, cold and bare-assed for anyone who could look through the door. She had decided to do it and, leaning over, felt a chill in her belly. Then she didn’t.

She watched the goosebumps rise on her thighs and pulled her T-shirt back to reveal her lap. Was it spreading? She poked at herself making tiny pink dimples which colored then filled. “Closure” was what everyone who wanted the house talked about to her. As if there was such a thing for the haunted-for those who carried the memories of past lives with them. Like moving was going to change anything. Like she wanted to change anything. The woman in the dark TV stared-giving her nothing. Not a fucking thing.

Danny – Part 2

(Continued from Danny)

We spent the day as we had the one before; fishing, swimming, canoeing and ignoring what had happened. Had someone joined us that day, they wouldn’t have noticed anything in the way we acted toward each other. At least that’s how I remember that day. At the end of it, after dinner and a late swim I was sun-groggy, playing solitaire in the main room and Danny was, I thought, reading in his. I thought nothing of it when he called, “Come here a minute”. When I got to his door, the lamp was dimmed by a red bandana over the shade and he was laying on the bed, naked on his belly, ass pointed right at the door. Right at me.

I thickened immediately-to be eighteen again-and noticed a rubber and a small bottle on the tiny square of table beside the lamp. I picked up the bottle of lube. It was brand new-unopened-bought for the weekend.

“Why didn’t you tell me you had this yesterday?”

He turned his head toward me and without looking up said, “I didn’t want to scare you off…” His face was obscured by a thick sash of dirty blonde hair, but he was smiling.

I undressed quickly and lay beside him, my stiff cock bumping and rubbing against his leg. He smelled like salt, like the river, like the Ivory soap we kept down the on the dock because it floated. There was no question what to do next-this was not the first time I’d been in bed with someone-but certainly the first time with a guy. Also, the first time with someone who reacted as warmly and lively, to every touch-to every caress. Up on my elbow I traced my hand across the wide shoulders and down the smooth muscles of his back bumping along his spine to the dimples where the deep brown of his tan faded into the soft white mounds of his ass. Below, his hamstrings were tight and practically hairless.

I paused my hand on his rear and squeezed gently, loving the feel of it.  He reached back and covered my hand with his. “Smack me”, he said. “On the butt…”

I did, not hard but hard enough to generate a nice jolt against in my shoulder. He moaned and pushed his bottom toward me. “Again.” I did, and he gasped and lifted his bottom for more cocking his leg slightly to accommodate his hardening. The air left the room as I slapped and slapped turning his bottom an all over pink.

“Use my belt”, he croaked lifting his hips.

“What?” I asked, not sure.

“My belt. Use it!” The thick leather was still in his jeans hanging on the back of the door. I pulled it out and doubled it, snapping it once.

“Right across my ass!” he was breathless, on his knees like a charmed cobra, his face in his pillow. The first lash was limp and met with a “come on…” the second better, sound cracking off the walls. By the fifth he was yipping like a coyote with every blow and my cock was bouncing like a conductor’s baton. He signaled he was finished by sliding his legs backward and collapsing on the bed. I whipped him once more as he squeezed his cheeks together like two hard red apples. I dropped the belt and rubbed his hot, dry bottom.

“This has to hurt”, I whispered.

“It burns”, he said. “Burns good…”

I pulled his legs apart and kneeled between them, back by his feet so I could lean forward and continue rubbing his tortured cheeks lightly. He couldn’t have jumped higher had I touched him with a lit cigarette when I kissed his bottom. “Jumpy?”, I said pinching lightly and rubbing my three days stubble over the heat. His movements spoke eloquently without words.

He wriggled at the sound when I tore open the rubber and gasped when I drizzled the cool liquid onto my fingers and rubbed them over and into his tight asshole. Guided by my right hand, my cock leaned against his opening for a moment. Then I pushed slowly, relentlessly until I was deep inside and lying flat atop him filling my lungs with the smell of him. I nibbled lightly and underhooked both arms trying to catch a rhythm with the old bed springs.

Danny tried to free his right arm-to pull it down. I knew what he was going for and grunted, “Here, let me.” We rolled onto our sides spooning and I took his pulsing cock in my right hand. I didn’t think the bed-the same one I was sleeping on now- would survive our thrusting what with him pushing back as I rammed forward-never slowing pumping his cock. We came close enough to the same time to call it even. He growled, and I growled, squeezing him a little harder than I’d meant to. But he took it and pushed back as we went limp together.

The next day, after washing his sleeping bag in the river, we decided to leave. Maybe we feared what might happen that night, maybe we were out of beer. But we left. The ride home was the same as the ride down: cassettes playing loud and talking about people at school. After a silence about an hour into the ride he said without looking at me. “I enjoyed you fucking me. I really liked that.”

“I did too”, I said.

“And I don’t feel weird about it.” I didn’t answer. “I don’t. Doesn’t mean anything except that it’s just something we did.”

“What about the belt?”

“I REALLY liked that…”

I smiled and tried to affect a rakish grin over the steering wheel but when I glanced in the mirror it was more of a Dr. Sardonicus rictus. But that was it-that was our conversation about the weekend. We spoke no more of it. We didn’t see much of each other too much over the summer and it seemed to be by design. Then fall came and I went to school up north and he went to work. As I understand it, he hated the job and after he got laid off Danny surprised everyone and joined the service. It was a gray September day a couple of years later when word came that he’d been blown-up in Afghanistan.

 

Danny

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(This is an excerpt from a longer piece that might actually be finished one day)

There was never a wonder about why it had happened that day of all days. Never wondered because Danny had obviously planned it, if not in every specific detail, then certainly in general. Neighbors and constant companions since fifth grade and now ready to graduate, we were unsupervised teens ready to leave our childhoods behind: chrysalises on the cusp of becoming something else.  At least one of us was. I thought I was ready, but years of following the lead of coaches and teammates had left me remarkably unable to choose a path for myself. I was the horse that, unbridled and unsaddled, still followed the steps of his master. Which is why I wanted to get away with Danny, my only friend who was not on a team with me or had an opinion to share about where I should go to college.

The cabin was great for that. We came down in the middle of the week because there was nobody around for a mile in every direction. We fished, swam, grilled burgers, now relaxed as dusk fell. We relaxed like most guys did-talking about girls, particularly about Crissy Myers. I had dated her for a hot minute and never got past first base. Danny had hit a home run with her right out of the box and never tired of ragging me about it. Except for today. He’d mentioned it but then let it lie. He seemed nervous-jumpy-his foot tapping vibrating the bench. He couldn’t sit still-got up and paced from one side of the deck to the other.

“You OK, man?” I asked him once.

“Yeah, I’m fine”, he answered but paused with his back to me. He was wearing old gym shorts and an oversize T-shirt that hung low. He wasn’t a big guy-not as tall as me-but not slight. I was on the bench with my legs apart, watching him. He turned and without looking at me, walked up and slipped just inside my knees. Too close, really. His legs were almost touching mine. I was about to say something when I noticed.

“Dude”, I said. “You have a hard on.”

“Thinking about Crissy”, he said.

“I don’t think…” I began but stopped when I looked up at his face. In that second, I saw it. I saw it in his eyes and he looked away quickly knowing that I saw it. But I’d seen it and couldn’t unsee it. It was there. I even saw it on his lips when he wasn’t looking.

“Dan?” I asked.

“It’s your choice,” he said quietly.

“What is?”

He turned away and walked to the railing at the end of the deck. Turning to look at me over his shoulder he unsnapped his shorts and allowed them to fall to the floor. He wasn’t wearing underwear and his alabaster bottom glowed in the dim sundown light. He stepped out the shorts to widen his stance and bent over the top rail.

“What are you doing?” I asked, my voice grabbing.

“It’s here if you want it”, he said.

I didn’t trust myself just then to say anything. I remembered earlier in the day when when we were swimming and he’d rubbed against me underwater. I had pushed off of him and come to the top, thinking nothing of it. But I’d spend the better part of the rest of my life trying to remember or imagine signs that might have foretold what was happening that evening.

“I want it”, he said.

The voice, that plea, rings in my ears today. I don’t know-or didn’t at the time know-if I wanted it. So, I sat. Frozen. There was a part of me that didn’t want to leave him out there in a place that had probably taken him years to get to, by himself. The trust he had to feel-or the desperation that drove him-to put himself over that railing were not to be simply dismissed.

While I thought, while I considered, he waited. Not rock still-he moved a bit-up on his right toes, then his left-arching his back slightly then settling. No matter how much I thought, considered, re-thought, re-considered, there was one thing I could not ignore. My dick was pushing hard against the seam of my cut-offs. I looked down almost relieved to have the decision made for me. I stood and dropped my shorts, stepping out of them.

His rectum grabbed me so firmly I panicked for a moment thinking I remembered stories of men locking up like this. Which would have been unacceptable. But no. Once firmly implanted inside him-tightly enough that my legs rubbed his and hipbones pressed his butt-I was able to withdraw-partly and slowly-then slide in again. Then again, picking up the pace each time.

“Oh Jesus”, he gasped over his shoulder, “I love this!”

I pushed his shirt up his back wanting to expose more of him. “Me too”, I said catching my breath and feeling the weight growing heavier deep inside me with every thrust. Me too, I repeated to myself. I stood straight, arching, and looked down, watching his ass take me over and over. Danny’s right arm was working; stroking his penis feverishly.

He came first, with a groan spattering his seed over the trees and shrubs below the deck. Cumming, his asshole grabbed me tighter than possible-a strong hand squeezing-and I shot hard and deep, driving him into the wooden railing and coming up on my toes until the spasms passed and I settled back onto my feet. Then, careful not to touch him anywhere but on the hips, I slipped myself out from between his cheeks, chastely ignoring his soft moan. We went swimming.

That night we smoked the only joint we had and drank two of the six beers we brought along. We were young-today a six pack wouldn’t last the ride down-then it was enough for three days. Neither one of us spoke of what we did as we sat there on the deck listening to the nighttime symphony of insects, night birds and frogs. I don’t think we were ignoring what we’d done by any means, but really didn’t know how to react.  The exercise had felt more athletic than sexual so we, at least I, treated it as such and spent the evening as we had the previous one: talking about school, plans, girls and playing hearts.

(Continuing…)

 

The Premonition

To say it was a premonition might not be accurate. I don’t know that anything was being foretold, but it was something. As if a conversation had been interrupted suddenly. It was still dark, so the sky didn’t reveal itself but my sinuses, and the lack of stars, told me it was either raining or about to. Probably more of a drizzle-a bone chilling late November drizzle. I pulled the spare pillow over my head and flopped onto my side squeezing my eyelids shut as if sleep, once fled, could be coaxed back. It usually didn’t work.

What was it? I wondered. My eyes scanned the room for an intruder-real or imagined. The darkness must not have been truly dark-or pitch, as they call it-because I could make out the chair by the window. It was empty as it should have been but for a moment-just a moment-I was sure someone was sitting there. Someone had to have been sitting there. It wouldn’t have been the first time. But no. And there was no movement in the house. My perturbed heart fluttered lightly and I held my breath to better hear. Nope. Nada. Had there been a forgotten dream that left me feeling this way?

Sleep had been deep and syrupy-aided no doubt by a glass of bourbon around ten. But just one. More than that and I’d have stirred all night. But no, no dreams that I could remember. There was something though-like a rush of water…maybe wind through the leaves. I’d been back in the woods yesterday and had heard the winds whispering. Maybe it had stuck with me. Maybe I’d dragged something back again like a burr in the cuff of my jeans.

After thrashing about for a while-probably no more than minutes-I tossed the covers and sat up, bare feet on the chill wood floor. I’d have to lay a fire in tonight, no doubt. It was time. Always tried to go as long as possible without one.  The woodpile seemed large enough but nothing worse than reaching the end of it in a chilly, wet March. Without turning on any lights I made my way down the back stairs into the kitchen avoiding the urge to look back over my shoulder.

I poured a glass of cold water in the light from the open refrigerator and gulped it; less drinking than hydrating. I poured another and reached back behind the eggs for the old pill bottle. A day that started with an edge before sunup was a day best avoided. I shook a few tablets into my hand and regarded them carefully before deciding on an orange football. I swallowed it and replaced the bottle, closing the door and sliding back into the dark. Still nothing brightening outside.

With the refilled glass I padded into the living room and sat in the recliner. By feel I found the cigar box on the table and opened it. Like a soldier who learned to break down his weapon blindfolded, I took the glass one-hitter out of the box and broke off a piece of bud that was rolled in the corner of a plastic bag. The lighter flared and I sucked an enormous cloud into my lungs. I held it only so long as the bud was burning away and took a second hit-bigger than the first. The ember in the pipe went out. That was that. I sat back and embraced the smoke for what seemed like hours before letting it out with a slow whistle.

Once, when drinking, I had told my brother about my drug habits and how I dealt with life’s stresses. He called me a coward.  Of course he did-the prick. I had wanted to slap him, but he was my older brother. And bigger. And in better shape. Had I slapped him he would have been surprised and maybe laughed at me. But there was the possibility he might have kicked my ass, so I didn’t slap him. Wonder what he was up to these days? He was a major pain in the dick, but I still wondered sometime where he was.

I rubbed my hand over my face hard. Once. Then again. It was starting. The roof of my mouth was dry. My lips stuck gently together. The water-sipped like expensive wine-was perfectly chilled. My heart fluttered a bit more-the dope would do that-but only for a little bit. By the time I got back into bed and stretched out, the layer of warm, wet cotton would cover me from the top down and I’d drift back off into the black. Of course, there was always the chance that I wouldn’t fall back to sleep and would just lay there stoned for a few hours. Which, on balance, beat the shit out of laying there straight.

Back in bed I glanced at the chair once more. Still seemed to be empty, which was good, but I resisted any temptation to go near it. I remembered slapping my lips once. Then drifting away.