dontravis.com blog post #484
Photo courtesy of lista.com
On January 22, the older of my two sons died in a Texas hospital. He was admitted on the 7th of that month suffering from colitis. Although he’d had heart trouble over the past two or three years, I initially had no clue that his condition was serious. But as time went on, his organs began to fail until they could no longer sustain life. On the afternoon of his death, the nurse put the phone to his ear and I was able to say goodbye and tell him I loved him. Not long after that, he passed. Needless to say, I sort of fell apart and am not yet fully collected.
As a result of this, my Oklahoma writing buddy, Mark Wildyr agreed to let me guest post the same short story he’s posting on his own website (markwildyr.com) this very day. Thank you, Mark, for coming to my rescue.
By Mark Wildyr
I managed to snag a summer job back home after my freshman year at Eastern New Mexico University. Lucky, gainful employment was hard to come by in this uncertain economy. Not only that, but my hometown can’t even claim 10,000 residents, every one of them scratching for a living.
Anyway, when I hired on as one of the remodel crews for Westerton’s Home Repair, I considered myself lucky. I might have liked a semi-blue-collar job, say like working in the mailroom at city hall or delivering for the local florist, but, hey, you gotta take what’s available, right?
I’m not a rough-and-tumble guy, but I figured I could hold my own with a blue-collar crew. My old man was one for years, but then, I’m not my old man. In fact, I spent more time with my mom and grandmother than any of the male members of my family. Truth be told, I’ figured out I was gay this past fall when I got involved with my first semester roommate. Can’t tell you how liberating that was. But now I’m back in this little town with a mindset of the 1940s, requiring me to go back into the closet. Wasn’t hard to do. Been doing it all my life, even if I didn’t know it at the time.
On my first day, the boss assigned me to Walsack’s crew. Julius Walsack was about as broad as he was tall, but it wasn’t fat. Overdeveloped muscles… but definitely not fat. I’d known him before I went off to college in the vague way a guy knows everyone in a small town. He had a rep for spending his days doing hard manual labor and devoting his evenings to doing hard physical exercise in the town’s one gym. About five years older than my nineteen years, he’d been somebody to say hi to when our paths crossed. Looking back, I realized that he’d scared me, or at least intimidated me with his he-man bluster. Now he was my immediate boss.
The other two members of our crew were older men I knew the same way I knew Walsack, they were faces I could put a name to. They were an amiable bunch, and I knew my way around a hammer and saw, so I fitted in right from the start. Or thought I did.
The second day, Walsack walked up to me as I was fashioning a spline miter joint for a box window and sent me to the hardware store to pick up an order. As I started up, he slapped me on the butt.
“And put a hurry on it. It’s got some stuff I need,” he yelled while tossing the keys to his pickup at me.
I caught them and hurried to the company’s truck, swiping sawdust off the rear of my jeans as I went.
Later the same day, he came up to inspect the work I was doing and stood so close his thigh lightly brushed where he’d left his handprint. I moved to the other side of the saw table and watched his eyes as he studied what I’d been doing. He suggested a small change which made sense before walking back to whatever he’d been doing.
The next day, I was hanging a curtain rod in one of the bedroom’s closets when he sauntered in to see how I was doing. While one hand tested the rod, another came to rest on my ass. I was sorta penned in, so I just brushed his hand away. He agreed I was doing a good job, and went back to his own work. Maybe I wasn’t as far in that other “closet” as I thought.
For the rest of the week, it was something every day. Once, he slipped past me in tight confines and rubbed his fly across my butt. He paused just a second, not noticeable to the others, but it definitely was to me. A couple of times when he came to make suggestions or inspect something I was cutting on the saw, his eyes weren’t on the work. They were on my crotch.
Long before the end of the work week rolled around, I considered quitting. But this was as decent-paying a job as I was going to find. Maybe I could ask for a new assignment. Of course, I’d have to come up with a reason for the request. At the end of shift Friday, he informed me that most of the guys gathered at a local bar downtown to celebrate.
“But I’m not twenty-one yet,” I replied.
“Aw, you come on. I’ll get you in.”
But he didn’t. The bouncer turned me away after eyeing my driver’s license. I glanced at Walsack, who shrugged.
“Hey, I figured every college kid had a phony ID. Too bad.”
As I turned away, he laid a hand on my arm. “I’ll get a couple of six packs, and we’ll go to my place.”
I pulled free and started walking toward my car. “No thanks. I’m tired.”
The weekend was unsettling. Most of my high school buddies had moved on, and I wasn’t interested in trying to find a date. Most of my time was spent puzzling over how to handle Walsack and thinking about my former roommate. I missed him; and I missed what we’d done. Sure wasn’t anyone in this little berg I could do that with. Except maybe Walsack. The thought made my skin crawl.
Why? He wasn’t a bad-looking dude. Sure was built. Like a brick shit house, as they say. But he was so damned… macho was the word that came to mind. Aggressively so. Wasn’t my type. I had a type? Must have because he sure wasn’t it.
I went to work Monday with my tail dragging. Not a week before, I’d been excited and anxious. Now I was dreading it. My mood must have showed, because the others on my crew-except for Walsack—asked if I was okay. He just beamed at me like a fox spotting a hen.
We’d finished last week’s job and were working at a new house. My assignment was to install paneling in the two-car garage. That meant I mostly worked alone since the rest of the guys were remodeling the kitchen. A solo job was okay by me, but it meant Walsack checked on me more often than usual.
The first couple of times were okay. He pointed out a couple of things I needed to correct and gave me some tips that made the job easier. Then he started in with his tricks. Standing too close. Putting his hand on my arm. As the afternoon went on, he grew bolder. Once, he reached over me to point to something, and his groin pressed right up against my butt. I froze, and after saying something I don’t even remember, moved away. I turned in time to see him adjust himself.
The dude’s turned on!
Just before quitting time, he delivered the clincher. I didn’t even hear him enter the garage, but I heard the door close behind him. I ignored Walsack until he was standing behind me… too close, as usual. My mouth was open to say something when he leaned into me.
I started to move away, but his hand snaked around me and grabbed a handful. I twisted away and ended up in the middle of the garage with my fists curled.
Walsack faced me, laughing. “What’s the matter, kid?”
“Don’t ever touch me like that again!”
He shrugged. “Why not, you’re gay aren’t you?”
“What of it?”
“So you oughta like a real man feeling you up.”
“Is that what you are? A man?”
“One hundred percent New Mexico beefcake. A queer like you oughta be lappin’ up what I’m offering.”
“Tell me something, Walsack. If you’re such a man, why’re you even interested.”
His chest swelled. “I’m a man, all right. But a little change now and then don’t hurt. You oughta be flattered I find your ass kinda fetching.”
“If you’re such a man, that means you screw women, right?”
A smile played on his lips. “Ever chance I get.”
“So do you go feeling them up all the time.
Walsack scowled. “N-not all the time.”
“Hell a man doesn’t make a play for every woman he meets. You know the old saying. Some will, some won’t.”
“According to that logic, you oughta feel them all up to see which ones will.”
“Hell, can’t do that.”
“They’d, I dunno, think I was a douche bag or something.”
I smiled. “There you go. Got it right the very first time.”
I believe this short story addresses a truism… far too many people, upon discovering someone is gay, automatically assumes he or she will go to bed with anyone who’s willing. Not so in most cases, as gays are looking for special people and commitments and possibly marriage, just as hetro’s do. Of course, some sleep around… just as some hetros do.
Good job, Mark. And thanks again for your help.
Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!
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See you next Thursday.
New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time.