Thursday, June 30, 2022

I Took a Road and Chanced Upon a Fairy, Part Three of Three Parts

dontravis.com blog post #556

 Image courtesy of dreamstime.com


 

Well, he’s tasted one of each, what more could he want? Even so, I’ll bet he’s whittling his butt off for the next trip to marketplace in Stockcroft.

****

                                  I TOOK A ROAD AND CHANCED UPON A FAIRY

I worked hard that next week to craft my carved images. Pleased by such prosperous industriousness, I failed to admit to myself I was seeking yet another enchantment until little time remained before I must set off for Stockcroft. I contemplated a dog… a soft, cuddly puppy to provide companionship as only they can do. Or perhaps a cat to keep rats away from the corncrib. But what if they could exist nowhere but in that enchanted forest?

As I looked through my supply of wood, a particular cottonwood root called to me as aptly fitting the human figure. But what sort of human? Man or woman? Lass or lad. I knew not.

I sat down at my workbench and took a knife to the wood. With nothing firmly in mind, I found myself cutting first an image shaping up as a woman, and then a muscled man. I whittled and cut and sanded until it was fit for neither. I sighed in disappointment. A fine piece rendered into a formless hunk befitting nothing but a frog. So I accepted my disappointment and carved a frog. I gazed at the ugly creature a moment before throwing it upon the mantlepiece. I’d put it with my other creations later. Someone, possibly some child, might find it decorative.

Upon the dawn of market day, I dragged from my bed and made ready to set out on my journey. At first determined upon the cobbled highway but soon changed my mind and set off upon the track that ran through the enchanted forest.

I know not why I approached the first clearing with such anticipation, but it did, only to be dropped into disappoint with no sign of a fairy. Truly, this magic place could give but one brief appearance for my creations.

A vacant second clearing sent me near into despondency as I recalled here was the spot that delightful youth had touched my flesh, sated my lust. At that moment, I acknowledged to myself that his was the touch I preferred. The lass had been delightful, but the lad had been extraordinary.

Despondent, I trudged onward, my bag of carvings becoming heavier and heavier with each step. Then, far down the trail, I saw the unmistakable glow of yet another clearing. Strange, I did not recall a third in my prior travels on this pathway.

As I entered the glade, I discerned some sort of creature sitting in the middle of a circle of sunlight. It took a moment to realize it was the very frog I’d created and left forgotten on the mantle beside the carving of the maid and the youth.

While I stood grappling with the meaning of this all, the creature spoke.

Gronk! Sing me a song—gronk—and I’ll grant you a wish.”

“I have no wish for anything you can offer,” I snapped.

Gronk. Be not so certain, my fair, young—gronk—lad.”

“I’ll not sing a song to the likes of you,” I said.

Gronk, then you have wasted both effort and time. Gronk. What have you to lose by offering me a ditty?”

“Very well.” I chose the same song of a lonely sailor I’d sung for both fairies except I made the lyrics as gross as imagination would allow.

I faltered as the frog disappeared in a puff of smoke, to be replaced by a princely young man as golden as my carved maiden and as virile as my sculped lad. “Now what is your desire?” he asked in a resonant baritone?”

“Y… you,” I gasped.

“Then have me, you shall.”

By “have,” he did not mean as either the lass or the lad had meant. I had him all right, as much of him as I could take. He left me spent and exhausted on the forest floor, this princely fairy. I never made it to market that day, meaning I would eat potatoes every day for a week. But somehow I didn’t mind.

Lying exhausted in the grass with sunlight warming my naked body, my mind scrabbled around trying to settle on what to carve next to leave on my mantlepiece.

*****

I repeat my question of last week: How come I never stumbled upon a fairy? Perhaps I did and didn’t recognize it. What about you?

See you next week with something new..

Stay safe and stay strong.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!

A link to The Cutie-Pie Murders:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ambxgy7e5ndmimk/CutiePieMurders%5BThe%5D.zip?dl=0

My personal links:

Email: don.travis@aol.com.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donald.travis.982

Twitter: @dontravis3

See you next Thursday.

                                                                                                                                 

Don


New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

I Took a Road and Chanced Upon a Fairy, Part Two of Three Parts

dontravis.com blog post #555

 Image courtesy of dreamstime.com


 

My stars, he whittled a comely lass, and his carnal desires were rewarded. What will happen next? (I’m sure you don’t know.)

****

                                  I TOOK A ROAD AND CHANCED UPON A FAIRY

The following week, I bundled my newest creations and set off for the village. My steps took me to the cobbled highway, but my mind quickly centered on the wonderful diversion the trek through the enchanted forest had produced last time. I quickly turned away and made for the forbidding woodland trail.

Yet when I reached that same glade dappled by the same sun, disappointment arose in my gullet. There was no one there. No fairy, no young woman with yellow hair and wide, inviting hips. My day turned gloomy, but now committed, I plodded on down the chosen, gloomy road.

After another mile or so, my sack of carvings growing heavier by the step, I spotted a light far down the darkened landscape. Aye, yet another clearing where Sol sent his arrows to provide light and warmth.

As I neared, I discerned a slender figure seated on a rock, chin resting on a hand. Had my lass returned after all? Nay. As I drew closer, a youth sprang to his feet and favored me with a broad smile.

My eyes skittered around the small clearing without discerning my fair maiden, only this oddly familiar young man with brown eyes and dark hair. With a start, I realized this was my second carving taken to flesh and bone. My eyes fell to the narrow waist and slender hips my fingers had often explored… at least in the oaken version of the fair youth.

“Welcome stranger,” he cried in an uncertain baritone. “For the price of a song, I’ll grant you a wish.”

“Aha, fortune strikes,” I cried. “So I can sing up a wagonful of gold, eh?”

The smile dimmed before growing again. “Nay, not riches of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but other joys you might crave.”

“Then I know not what to wish for,” I said.

“Aye, you’ll think of something.” His smile turned brilliant. “So sing me a song.”

I chose the same sea chanty without bothering to clean it up. He clapped and laughed delightedly as I came to the raucous end.

“Wonderful And now your wish. What do you desire?”

“My mouth said, “You,” although my brain didn’t know where the word came from.

“Then have me, you shall,” he called, reaching for the tie to his trousers.

Once again, I arrived late at the marketplace in Stockcroft and fell on the stone steps before the church while customers bought my entire stock of carvings. Alas my neighbor with a wagon was nowhere in sight, so I stumbled down the highway to my cottage, arriving exhausted, yet somehow elated.

That night Ilay abed sleepless as my mind raced over my last two trips into town. Two awesome ventures, one vying with the other for ascendency. Heretofore, I’d never lain with a maid, much less a youth, and I struggled to assign each its proper place in my store of experiences. Each had its own accommodations, its own sense of titillation, of carnal release.

On the dawn of the next market day, I rose early, anxious to tackle the journey through the enchanted forest. My steps were rapid and anxious as I approached the first sundrenched clearing in the forbidding forest. No one. Nothing.

With anxious steps, I hurried down the path between tangled, dark boughs of trees of an uncertain origin. The second clearing, loomed. But it, too, proved empty, barren of either human or fairy folk. Disappointed, I completed the remainder of the trek to sell my wares, empty of the joy I had erroneously contemplated.

That night, as I lay abed, I came to understand my plight. The enchanted forest could endow my carved images with but one life. Immediately, my mind set to grappling with what I might claim next.

*****

I repeat my question of last week: How come I never stumbled upon a fairy? Perhaps I did and didn’t recognize it. What about you?

Stay safe and stay strong.

 Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!

 A link to The Cutie-Pie Murders:

 https://www.dropbox.com/s/ambxgy7e5ndmimk/CutiePieMurders%5BThe%5D.zip?dl=0

 My personal links:

 Email: don.travis@aol.com.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donald.travis.982

Twitter: @dontravis3

 See you next Thursday.

                                                                                                                                 

Don

 New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time. 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

I Took a Road and Chanced Upon a Fairy, Part One of Three Parts

 dontravis.com blog post #554

Image courtesy of dreamstime.com


How many of you anticipated the ending of “Nightmares” last week? Hope I took some of you by surprise… but you’re a pretty perceptive bunch, so maybe not.

This week, we start a different kind of journey. Hope you’ll stick with me for it. Here goes.

****

                                  I TOOK A ROAD AND CHANCED UPON A FAIRY

I often trekked to Stockcroft to trade my wares and had done so since before my parents became Blessed Angels in the Good Lord’s heaven. My ma had always insisted I take the main road ’stead of the path through the wood. Being a lad, and later a young man, I was often tempted to defy her instructions, but she always mumbled and made the sign of the cross when she gave these instructions, so I curbed my curiosity and went to the village by way of the cobble-stoned roadway. There were usually others afoot on the highway, so the walk—though long—was often pleasant. My wood carvings usually excited conversations, and often I made my first and possibly second sale long ere reaching Stockcroft.

Two of my creations, I held to myself, generally out of sight of my dam and sire. But, alas, they were no longer in the cottage, so I boldly exhibited the carvings on the mantlepiece these days. One was an image of a fetching youth passing into manhood, with a cute nose, brown eyes, smiling lips, and curly locks falling over his smooth forehead. Somehow his narrow waist and slightly flaring hips drew my fingers to them, as did the slight bulge at the groin. I’d immediately snatch my hand away and look to see if I’d been caught out. But there was no one to scold me these days.

The other piece sharing the mantlepiece with the youth was a fair young maiden of similar years. Her nose was likewise pert, but her eyes were stained blue, and her hair draped her shoulders and rested upon a pleasing bosom. Just as often, my guilty fingers would touch that full breast and explore her broad, inviting hips.

Nary a six-month had passed ere my dam’s warnings about this or that or the other began to fade, along with her proscription of the forest track. So one day, I forgot her warnings and found myself on the way to Stockcroft via the forbidden trace. It was not long before I rued my choice. The trees closed in upon me before I accomplished a quarter of a league of my trek. My steps faltered, yet I placed one foot in front of the other upon spotting what appeared to be a sun-drenched clearing ahead.

My steps faltered as I discerned a figure in the midst of the clearing, but curiosity drew me onward until I saw it was a fairy. She was fair and fully as tall as I, yet there was no doubt in my mind she was a fairy. Lo, she was the embodiment of my figurine, right down to golden hair and eyes as blue as the sky.

As I drew near, her luscious, pouty lips broke into a smile and she spoke, her voice a clear crystal bell. “For the price of a song, I’ll grant you a wish.”

“I know not what to wish for.”

“Aye I’m sure you’ll think of something.”

“What sort of song?”

“Whatever your heart desires.”

The church gospel I’d been mulling suddenly no longer seemed appropriate, so I chose a sea ditty, cleaning up the words somewhat. Although I’m no music hall tenor, I can carry a tune. When I finished, she clapped her hands and laughed.

“Wonderful. And now what would you like?”

I am certain I blushed at my answer. “You”

“And have me, you shall.”

The fairy was as good as her word, and I arrived late at Stockcroft on uncertain legs. And even though I plopped on the church steps unable to muster the energy to move, I sold all my carvings and caught a wagon ride home with a neighbor who lived a league beyond my cottage

*****

 How come I never stumbled upon a fairy? Perhaps I did and didn’t recognize it. What about you?

 See you next week when our unnamed protagonist has to decide on trying the enchanted track or not.

 Stay safe and stay strong.

 Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!

 A link to The Cutie-Pie Murders:

 https://www.dropbox.com/s/ambxgy7e5ndmimk/CutiePieMurders%5BThe%5D.zip?dl=0

 My personal links:

 Email: don.travis@aol.com.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donald.travis.982

Twitter: @dontravis3

 See you next Thursday.

                                                                                                                                 

Don

 New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Nightmares, Part Two of Two Parts

dontravis.com blog post #553

Image courtesy of dreamstime.com



Last week, the gay kid Lyle was cornered in the boy’s room at his high school, stripped naked, and tossed into the hallway where half the student body saw him. He fled home where he found little, if any, support. Now what happens?



****

NIGHTMARES

I don’t have words to describe how I felt when I walked through the school doors on Monday. Smiles and giggles hidden behind cupped hands were bad. Sympathetic looks, mostly from girls, weren’t any better. The curled lips and disgusted frowns were worse, but at least they were honest. But the baddest of all was being called out of class to go see the principal, a prissy little man who went out of his way to make his attitude clear about fags… in my opinion because he was one.

“Lyle,” he said when I stood before his desk. “Friday was inexcusable. I won’t tolerate public nudity in my school. What were you thinking?”

“Wasn’t my idea… sir.” The “sir” came hard because I had no respect for this dominating, tinpot tyrant.

“What are you saying? Explain yourself.”

There was no doubt in my mind that he knew exactly what had happened and who perpetrated the event, but he was gonna do what everybody did… take the easy way out and blame it on the homo. Me.

“Four of them cornered me in the boy’s room, stripped me naked, and threw me out in the hallway.”

“What!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Who?”

I clamped my mouth firmly shut. Although everyone knew, if I confirmed it aloud, I’d not only be a queer fag, I’d be a queer, fag rat squealer. And this bastard wouldn’t do anything about it, anyway.

“I asked you who, Lyle.”

“You know who…sir.”

The silence stretched out as his weak, blue eyes glared at me across the desk. “Very well, if you won’t put a name to these… delinquents, I’ll have to assume there were none, and that you chose to strip and expose yourself to the entire student body. I will also have to inform your parents of your outrageous actions. Do you have anything else to say for yourself?”

“No sir. Just that I’m telling you the truth… and you know it.”

“Don’t be impertinent. You are suspended from school for one week. Do not show your face around here until next Monday. Is that understood?”

“Yes sir.”

I studied the slate floor tiles as I walked back into the hall and straight out the front doors, keenly aware of the other students—my beloved classmates—and teachers carrying on their lives as if nothing had happened. Well, something had happened. And that was the real abomination.

Mom didn’t know what to do or say, so she managed one brief hug and mumbled about how much she loved me, and that was that.

The old man was strangely quiet for about an hour after he came home from the office, and then he cut loose with a lecture and a belting. The lecture was a rambling, semi-coherent thing about there being no fags in his family in living memory. The belting simply raised red welts on my backside and legs. Then the household settled into a seething stew of hostility.

That was the night, my dreams began to take form. The red was anger; the blue, fear. A yellowish haze in the background was cowardice.

Tuesday night, the yellow came more into focus. Who was the coward? I was, obviously, because I didn’t fight my nature and try to be somebody else for them. My father for being a bully who hid his head in the sand. My mother… I didn’t want to think about that one. I had her sympathy, but she didn’t lend me her strength. The principal for acting on what was convenient, not on what he knew. That rat bastard Clark Harbinger for….

Maybe he wasn’t a coward at all. As twisted as his thinking was, he’d done what he wanted to and to hell with the consequences. No, he wasn’t a coward, but he was still a rat bastard.

Then I proved I was the biggest coward of them all by crying through the rest of my dream.

****

The days loomed hard and heavy into the future. I stayed in bed late in the morning until my bladder chased me into the bathroom. I ignored the shower and lived in my pajama bottoms for the rest of the day, playing games on my computer and visiting web sites. Strange web sites. Web sites that hinted at revenge. Others that demanded it. Still others that explained how to achieve it.

When I refused to come to the table, Mom brought plates of food and left them outside my door. I’d hear her come and go, and then I’d snatch open the door, grab the food, and wolf it down in a hurry so I could get back to the web sites. I even worked up the courage to post on a few of them. Lo and behold, I found sympathy there. Not just meaningless words of “so sorry” or “poor you,” but exhortations to stand up for myself. Stand against the world.

I’d have sudden bouts of uncontrolled weeping during which I’d huddle in the fetal position on my bed while tears flowed. Then I’d sleep… and dream. Even in the daytime. Dream of revenge, of exposing the cowards who ruled my life, let me down.

One day, Thursday, I think it was, I daydreamed of the revenge I’d take on Clark. I showed up at his door, taking him by surprise. In this coherent, satisfying dream, I advantaged his astonishment and shoved him inside where I twisted his arm behind his back until he cried “uncle.” Then I raped his ass while he begged me to stop. Then he implored me not to stop. He liked it. The frigging pansy liked it.

But my night dreams grew redder… and darker. I couldn’t see what was happening, but something was, and I could feel it. Something with more red. Something with loud noises and crying and begging and pleas for forgiveness. Roiling, riotous, nightmares that left me frightened and contented and exhausted and hopeful, all at the same time.

My father tried to intrude on my isolation, but I surprised us both by standing up to him, returning threat with threat and deflecting vile accusation with dreadful riposte. He left me alone after that.

Gradually, I came to treasure those days I had dreaded before. As Monday grew closer, I became more anxious, more resentful. Sunday night’s dream grew more tumultuous, more fearsome than others. I seemed to be more involved, feeling my muscles moving as I fought my way through the increasing horror of the night. Until suddenly, everything went quiet, and I slept peacefully.

It was morning, Monday morning. I knew I had to go to class and face the disdainful looks of teacher and student alike. But I couldn’t. Another dream claimed me. Not another one, the same one. Full of motion and color and fear and disgust.

I felt as if I were moving. Going somewhere. But I had to do it for real. Time for school. To face… to face…

I opened my eyes and glanced down at myself. I was still in my pajama bottoms, but they were fouled with a dark brown crust. Had I soiled myself? No… blood. It was dried blood. My chest was speckled with it too. But I didn’t feel injured.

I stood puzzling until I gradually grew aware of where I was. At the granite steps to the school. Semi-naked and filthy right in front of my loving, embracing, supportive high school. Then I realized I held something in my hand. Something my father loved more passionately than he loved his wife… or his son. His AR-15 rifle. I hefted it as I eyed the big, double doors.

Then as if blinders had been ripped from my eyes, everything finally came clear. Enervated, I darted up the steps.

 *****

 Well, it went where far too many of our bullying and prejudices and mistreatment go these days. The far right claims it’s not guns that are responsible, it’s the sick bastards who wield them. The other side say it’s because assault—military-style—guns are too accessible. Has anyone considered that maybe it’s the way we treat our marginalized, vulnerable individuals may be a big part of the equation? Yes, inappropriate weaponry is far too accessible. And yes, the weapons themselves don’t commit the atrocities. But they sure make it easier to accomplish.

 That’s all… until the next unspeakable, unthinkable event.

 See you next week.

 Stay safe and stay strong.

 Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!

 A link to The Cutie-Pie Murders:

 https://www.dropbox.com/s/ambxgy7e5ndmimk/CutiePieMurders%5BThe%5D.zip?dl=0

 My personal links:

 Email: don.travis@aol.com.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donald.travis.982

Twitter: @dontravis3

 See you next Thursday.

                                                                                                                                 

Don

 New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time. 

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Nightmares, Part One of Two Parts

dontravis.com blog post #552

 Image courtesy of dreamstime.com



 Well, my creepy side’s back again.

Let’s see where it leads us.



 

****

NIGHTMARES                    

Life wasn’t easy for a homo in my little southern Oklahoma town. Not when I was growing up, at any rate. I’d always been different. Even my father despaired of me. His constant refrain was, “Lyle, you need to get out more,” his code for saying “Hey, ’fraidy pants, go play some sports.” Sorry, not interested. Rather read. That way I can get out of this hick, small-minded town, at least for an hour or so.

I’d been called queer ever since I was fourteen, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t even know what I was or would turn out to be at that age. In the four years since, I’d heard it all: queer, homo, fairy, sicko, fag, bitch, fruit… oh, and abom, short for abomination. Those four, hard years left their mark on me. I was a loner, instantly latching onto the few who were willing to be friendly, only to have to let go when they got driven away by the prevailing attitude of our peers or else move out of town.

I learned early on that withdrawing was my best course of action. Drawing in the horns, taking pleasure in my own company. Bound to leave a mark, and I guess it did. For a while, I’d react like an eager puppy to any guy who gave me any attention. And some of them did, until I realized what they were looking for. And I gave it to them, for the most part, hoping they’d be appreciative enough to claim me as a friend. Yeah, right. They’d come sneaking around when they needed their ashes hauled, and then go back to being the jerks they really were. That’s when I went into my shell.

Then came the day Clark Harbinger and his gang cornered me in the boy’s room at the high school.

“Well, if it isn’t the town fruitcake,” he said as I stood at the urinal draining the last few drops. “Hey, look, guys,” he said, raising his voice, “Abam has a cock like the rest of us. Too bad he doesn’t know what to do with it.”

Despite the fact he had three of his goons with him, I let my mouth get away from me. “Oh, yeah. Drop your drawers, and I’ll show you.”

“Got a better idea, queer. You drop yours, and I’ll show you how a man uses his equipment.”

“Man? Baboon, maybe, but a man? I doubt that.”

Both of us ignored the fact that two days earlier, Clark had come sniffing around, and I’d yielded to pressure and given him a blow.

“Drop ’em,” he ordered.

“Screw you, Clark Harbinger, and the dinosaur you rode in on.”

“Okay, guys, he needs persuading.

I fought like a son-of-a-bitch—in my own ineffective way—but in short order I was naked as a jaybird. They hadn’t even left my socks on before they threw me out into the hallway where every student in school was passing on the way to the next class. There was a shocked silence until a few “Oh’s” broke the spell. Teeters and sniggers and guffaws soon filled the hallway.

Humiliated, I scrambled for the bathroom, but Clark was on his way out and shoved me over on my butt. Really exposed now, I scrambled to my feet and raced through the boy’s room door where I found my clothes stuffed into two different commodes. I fished them out and wrung them as dry as possible before putting them on and racing for home.

My mom looked shocked when I sailed through the door in sodden clothing. I said I’d got caught in sprinklers, but I could see she didn’t buy my story. Nonetheless, she let it go, and I made straight for my room where I took a long shower before donning dry clothing. After that, I huddled on my bed fighting tears and dreading my father’s arrival home from work. No doubt he’d have caught wind of what happened by that time. How would he handle it? He’d either give me a belting for not standing up for myself or ignore the whole thing. He was pretty good at avoiding unpleasant situations.

Ignoring it was what he chose. But supper that evening was a solemn affair. All of us kept our eyes on our own plates and talk was reduced to mutters of “pass this” or “pass that.” My little brother Charlie knew something was going on because he kept looking at each of us, but he kept is mouth shut. That was okay. He’d find out soon enough. The whole damned, opinionated, hypocritical town would find out.

The nightmares started that night.

I don’t remember much of the first one. Vague, frightening images… but I couldn’t say what was frightening or why. Lots of reds—I hadn’t known I dreamt in color—and blues. Clark was in it, at least his laughter was. He laughed so loud I woke up once and stared into the darkness wondering what was going on. But I dropped off again ell into the same vague, unformed, yet somehow terrifying dream. I woke up exhausted and terrified of going to school.

I took an easier breath when I realized it was Saturday. I’d had two whole days before I had to face that nightmare… this time a living nightmare.

Mom fixed a special breakfast that morning, so I knew she’d heard all about the school incident. Her eyes were soft and sympathetic, her lips constantly moving, yet she never said a word about the incident. I didn’t know if that was good or bad. Not facing it would be easier in the short run, but a little motherly comfort would have been welcome right then.

Dad had already taken refuge on the golf course where he’d stay all day. That way, he could avoid the issue… heck, avoid his biggest embarrassment—me.

*****

 Where in the world is this going? I haven’t written the rest of it yet, so I don’t know. Maybe you have some suggestions. Feel free to express them.

 Until next week.

 Stay safe and stay strong.

 Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!

 A link to The Cutie-Pie Murders:

 https://www.dropbox.com/s/ambxgy7e5ndmimk/CutiePieMurders%5BThe%5D.zip?dl=0

 My personal links:

 Email: don.travis@aol.com.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donald.travis.982

Twitter: @dontravis3

 See you next Thursday.

                                                                                                                                 

Don

 New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time. 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Russell and Leo, a Short Story

dontravis.com blog post #551

Image courtesy of freepik.com”



I’ve left behind my creepy side that showed up last week and wrote a new short story about two guys you might recognize from your own boyhood. Let me know what you think.



****

RUSSELL AND LEO

I don’t even know how to describe our relationship. Russell Randall Rolliver and I had grown up together, living side by side as neighbors all our lives. We were inseparable through middle school, and then Triple R, as I sometimes called him, had started outgrowing me. We were the same age—eighteen—but he was shaped like a man and walked like a man and talked like a man—well, some of the time—but you know what I mean. In a manly baritone.

Me, Leonard Hardy Blessingame—Leo to Russell—was only beginning to broaden in the shoulders and talk in a breaking tenor… and notice girls, something Russell had started in the seventh grade. He’d already figured out what to do with them while I was still trying to understand who they were. Oh,

intellectually I knew, and I could talk inuendo with the best of them, but down deep, they scared me. I had the feeling that if I ever caught one, it would be like the dog catching the car. What disaster would come of that?

Like I say, Tripple R had long ago outgrown me, and as hard as that was, I’d learned to live with it. About the time I decided, okay, my buddy was gone for good, he’d show up in our backyard and want to toss frisbies or loll in the hammock or just talk. I’d come to treasure those moments like a islet in a broad, formless sea. And I know him well enough to understand he valued them, as well.

My folks had gone to my aunt’s house in a town about twenty miles down the road, and I was practicing on the piano—I was semi seriously considering trying to make my living with “the beast with eighty-eight ivory teeth—when a rap on the back door interrupted me. I looked up to see Triple in his standard summer outfit, shorts and thongs.

“Hey, bro, sounding pretty good on that thing,” he said when I got up to unlatch the screen for him.

“Slow going,” I said dryly. “Soda?”

“Unless you figure we can filch a couple of your old man’s beers.”

“Not a chance. Coke or Dr. Pepper.”

“Dr. Pecker, I think.”

I got his “Dr. Pecker” from the fridge, and a Coke for me. We settled on the couch beside the piano.”

“What’cha been up to?” he asked after a draw on the bottle.

“Same thing.” I waved a hand at the piano. “Practicing on the beast and playing a little tennis.”

“And squiring Mary Ann Sabatino, I hear.”

I shrugged. “Took her to the movies a couple of times, that’s all.”

“About time you showed some interest.”

“Not everybody becomes a cave man at fourteen, Russell.”

That brought a grin. “I did come out of the chute a little early. But it was worth it.”

“I glanced at him. “Was it? You’re going to be worn out before you get married.”

“Might not get married. Might be better to just play the field.”

“Until they all get married, and you’re playing the field with somebody else’s wife.”

He tapped me on the shoulder. “When did you get to be such a killjoy?”

I shrugged and grimaced. “According to you, I’ve always been one.”

We spent another hour on the sofa jawing like we were still best buddies. In fact, maybe we were.

I didn’t see Russell again until the following weekend when he showed up in my backyard. This time, I was outside grilling some burgers. Mom and Dad were going out to dinner with Triple’s parents, and I planned on stuffing myself with fat hamburger patties between buns loaded with pepper jack cheese, mayo, and as much lettuce, sweet onions, and pickles as I could get to stay between the slices. I wasn’t aware he was there until he clapped me on the shoulders from behind and ran his hands down my sides to my hips. I jumped, almost dumping a patty on the ground.

“You’re filling out, Leo. Got some definition there.”

I was wearing Russell’s standard uniform—cutoffs and sandals—so the warmth of his touch lingered, puzzling me somewhat. “Hey, man, give me some warning. I almost dumped your burger on the ground.”

“My burger? You didn’t even know I was coming over.”

“Course, I did. Knew you’d catch the aroma and come running.” Truth was, I had been planning on eating both the burgers myself. For some reason, I had to swallow hard before I could ask the next question. “Did you mean it?”

“Mean what? About you filling out. Yeah, you’re a late bloomer, but you’re gonna look good.”

“Aw, you’re just saying that to pay for your meal.”

“Naw, man. Serious.” He stepped forward and rested a hand on each of my shoulders. “They’re definitely broader.”

Then he did what I wanted him to do without knowing why I craved it so much. He put his hands under my arms and ran them down to my waist. I wondered if he felt the tremor that went through me.

“There’s a flare to the old rib cage that wasn’t there last year.”

Then I did something impulsive. I put my hands to his flanks and explored down to his waistband. “Not like yours.”

“Naw. Us Mediterranean types blossom early, but you’ll catch up.”

I noticed my hands still rested on his hips. He didn’t move away.

“Hey, man, my burger’s gonna burn.”

As if awakened from a dream, I grabbed the meat fork and pulled the patties off the flames. Confused, I made a big production out of loading up the burgers and buns before handing one plate to him.

We settled in the shade of the porch in lawn chairs and chowed down.

“Umm, good,” he said. “You can cook for me anytime.”

“Anytime you want.” I’d almost said “all the time.” What the hell was going on?

As we sat munching our sandwiches and jawing about school and people we knew, I discovered things about Russell. Russell was good looking all over, from his broad shoulders to his narrow waist. I liked the way his hips flared—not too much but just enough—and how the muscles bunched in his thighs. Would my pecs ever look like his? How did he develop a such a noticeable six pack? I noticed how his green eyes flashed when he cracked a joke and smoldered when he talked about his girl. How his voice became a growl when he got serious about something. And how frigging handsome he was.

I discovered things about myself, as well. I now knew why I wasn’t so keen about chasing after girls. They were fun to be around sometimes, but they weren’t… well, they weren’t Russell. That afternoon, I learned I wanted Russell. Wanted him like he wanted one of them. Wanted to do mysterious and exciting things with him… just Russell and Leo, with no one else between us.

The afternoon and the opportunity passed. Russell remained a good friend through our senior year, but we were never again as close as I felt on that summer afternoon in my backyard. While the opportunity—if, in fact, it was one—passed, the wanting never did. Even though my unexplored desire was never fulfilled, it did influence the course of the remainder of my life. Eventually, I found another Russell. Not his name, of course, but he helped me recapture those feelings. He’s a good guy, and I love him.

But I’ll never quit wondering what life would have been like if Russell and Leo had gotten together that summer long ago.

*****

 I was talking about this story with my buddy Mark Wildyr the other day, and he pointed out he’d published a more or less autobiographic story on his markwildyr.com website called “Jimmy” in October of 2019 that more or less mirrored this one. I suppose we’ve all had similar experiences of unrecognized longings coming suddenly into focus. Of an unwillingness to advantage situations at the possible risk of losing friendships or reputation or whatever. I know that I have, thus the story of Russell and Leo.

 Feel free to share experiences.

 Until next week.

 Stay safe and stay strong.

 Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!

 A link to The Cutie-Pie Murders:

 https://www.dropbox.com/s/ambxgy7e5ndmimk/CutiePieMurders%5BThe%5D.zip?dl=0

 My personal links:

 Email: don.travis@aol.com.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donald.travis.982

Twitter: @dontravis3

 See you next Thursday.

                                                                                                                                 

Don

 New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Dilby, a Short, Short Story

 dontravis.com blog post #550

Image courtesy of en.bideax.info



Thanks to Don Morgan for last week’s guest post. Good luck with your novel, Miasma, Don.

 

This week, a short story that’s too long for flash fiction and too short for a genuine short story. Hope you like it.

 

****

DILBY

It promised to be a lazy Sunday afternoon with high, thin clouds cutting the worst of the sun’s heat, until I changed from church duds to overalls and hauled out the toolbox to tackle my ’59 Ford Galaxie coupe. Needed a minor tune-up, and now was as good as ever. Except, I wish I hadn’t eaten that extra piece of fried chicken from dinner. Or maybe it was the second gob of peach cobbler. But whatever it was, it sure made leaning over the fender to reach the engine compartment uncomfortable.

I’d probably been at it for an hour before I glanced up to see a young fella staggering down the street, his left arm hanging straight down in an unnatural sort of way. Hurt, he was. That was plain.

“Pa,” I yelled as I swiped my hands on a rag, “Come runnin’!”

“What is it?” my dad said, barreling out the front door in a rush.

I nodded to where the stranger stood at the gate. He was younger’n me, and I’m nineteen. His white shirt was smeared with blood, as was his hair.

“You need help, young fellow?” my dad called. Folks considered him a standoffish kinda guy, but I knew that wasn’t the case. If somebody needed help, he’d break his back to lend a hand, and it looked like this fella needed help.

“Wreck,” the kid said in a voice that didn’t have any wind behind it.

I stood at my old man’s side. “What’s the matter with him?”

“Probably in shock.” My dad lifted his voice. “What’s your name, son?”

“Dilby.” Just a cold echo of a word.

“You hurt? You need help?”

The kid looked back down the road. “My mother… sister. Deer ran in front. Car crashed. Turned over. They need help.”

“Where?”

Dilby nodded south down the road. “Where the bridge crosses the stream.”

My dad nodded at me. “Collin’s Branch.” He yelled over his shoulder. “Mama, call the sheriff and tell him there’s a bad wreck at Collin’s Branch where it crosses the highway. Need ambulance.”

He turned back to the figure swaying before our gate. “Son… Dilby, you need help. Come on and let us fix you up.”

The youth backed into the highway and turned south. “Mother. Sister. Need help.”

“So do you, son. Come let….”

He gave up as Dilby staggered on down the road. “We gotta catch him. We’ll use your car—”

“It’s all torn apart. We’ll have to use yours.”

“Damnation,” he grunted. “Go get the biggest pry bar you can find in the garage. If that car rolled, might have to pry them out. I gotta put air in the back tire before I can move the truck.”

I rummaged around in the barn and came up with two sizeable levers, one for each of us. Also grabbed the first aid kit we keep out there, although it was only good for treating cuts and bruises, not car wrecks. Still….

Eventually, we maneuvered around my Ford in the driveway and turned out onto the highway.

“Damn!” Dad exclaimed. “Where’d the kid go?”

“Dunno. Maybe he took off running.”

“If he did, he won’t get far. Keep an eye on the barrow ditch in case he fell. He looked to be on his last legs to me.”

“Yeah,” I agreed.

But as the bridge approached, there was no sign of Dilby. As soon as we saw the deep gouges in the earth where the car had left the highway, we forgot about finding the kid and baled out to go help the two he’d said were trapped in the car.

The blue Dodge four-door we found at the bottom of the creek bank, resting halfway in the water, had rolled at least twice and came to rest right-side-up. The roof was crushed in, so it was obvious we’d need the pry bars we’d brought. I reached the wrecked car first.

“A woman, Dad. I don’t know if she’s alive or—” I about jumped outa my skin when she groaned and moved.”

“Check the other side for the girl,” Dad said, putting the bigger of the two levers to the crumpled door.

I went around the front of the car and waded cold creek water to reach the passenger’s side. Sure enough, there was a girl passed out in the seat with a bloody gash on her forehead. Thank goodness she’d been strapped in by a seat belt. Lucky they all were, I guess. Else they’d have been toast.

I felt the girl’s wrist and found a strong pulse, so Dad had me help him wrestle with the car door. We’d just gotten it open when I heard sirens.

“My son… my girl?’ a weak voice asked. It took me a second to figure out it was the woman speaking. “Are… are they all right?”

“Daughter’s unconscious, but Daryl… that’s my boy… he says she has a strong pulse.”

“My son?”

“He’s the one who came got us. She’s around somewhere. Now you just lay back and try to relax. We don’t dare move you until the medics get here, and they’re pulling up now.”

We acknowledged the sheriff when he half slid down the incline. Thirty seconds later, the place was swarming with deputies and paramedics. We backed away to let them do their thing, watching as they used boards to slide the woman and the girl out of the car. From the talk going back and forth among the medics and the deputies, we gathered the injuries were nothing to sneeze at but not life threatening.

The sheriff stopped beside us to watch as they were loaded into an ambulance.

“Lucky you guys chanced on them. You know what happened?”

“Deer ran across the road,” I said.

Sheriff Denton glanced back up the road toward our house at the edge of town. “You see it from there?”

“Naw,” Dad said. “We wouldn’t a known nothing about it if the kid hadn’t come asking for help.”

“Kid? What kid?”

“Dilby,” he said his name was,” I volunteered. “He was the son. Kid about seventeen-eighteen.”

“He came to your house and knocked on your door?

“No. I was in the driveway working on my car when I saw him staggering up the road. I called my dad, and he had Mom call you while we got in the truck and drove down to where Dilby said it happened.”

“He told you a deer ran across the road?”

I nodded. “Yeah, why?”

“And he rode back with you to the wreck?”

“No,” my dad said. “Funny thing, we tried to get him to come in and let us treat his wounds, but he ran off to his mom and sister.”

“Wilbur,” the sheriff said to my dad. “Come here.”

He led us a short distance upstream to where two EMTs hovered over something. My gut fell away when they stood. That kid… Dilby… lay on the creek bank.

“That’s him! That’s Dilby,” I gasped. “He’s the kid who came and told us his mom and sister were hurt.”

Sam Jenkins, one of the two EMTs, turned and looked me square in the eye. “This kid didn’t walk anywhere. He was dead the minute he got thrown from the car. Neck’s broken. One knee’s shattered. Arm’s broken. I’m willing to be he’s the only one in the car who wasn’t wearing a seat belt. And he paid for it.”

I watched the blood drain out of my father’s face. I’m not sure what he saw looking at me, but without a word from either of us, we walked straight to Dad’s truck, crawled in, and drove home. I expected to have nightmares that night.

But I didn’t. I merely saw Dilby standing in front of the house nodding his thanks.

*****

 I must have been in a kooky frame of mind when I wrote this. Nonetheless, I hope you got a modicum of pleasure from reading it.

 Until next week.

 Stay safe and stay strong.

 Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!

 A link to The Cutie-Pie Murders:

 https://www.dropbox.com/s/ambxgy7e5ndmimk/CutiePieMurders%5BThe%5D.zip?dl=0

 My personal links:

 Email: don.travis@aol.com.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donald.travis.982

Twitter: @dontravis3

 See you next Thursday.

                                                                                                                                 

Don

 New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time.

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