By Anatoly Rybakov and Tim Kyle
The next morning, at seven o'clock, me and Smako were in the garage.
What I particularly appreciate in Peter is his accuracy. We agreed to meet at seven, he came at seven. For all his slowness, Smako is not devoid a sense of responsibility.
Ian, of course, only showed up at five to eight. And Vern just managed to hop in when we were already leaving. So neither of them got to see the morning departure of the trucks to work.
A powerful show it was! Smako even opened his mouth with amazement. Huge rigs and dump trucks went out of the gate at full speed, one after another, an endless stream rushing down the road and spreading through the city streets. I would give anything just to do this once, drive this huge piece of machinery at full throttle in this mighty convoy. Smako and I stood at the gate and watched the flickering of the drivers faces in the cabs. Behind the wheel they look quite different than usual, much more impressive and courageous. That's what it means to drive a huge truck!
Generally, the depot looked more lively at this early hour, I would even say more colorful. From the loudspeaker came the ringing voice of the dispatcher: "Driver so-and-so, get your cargo documentation! Driver so and so, prepare your trailer! Driver so-and-so, see the chief of operations immediately!.." The drivers ran out of the control room, thrusting their cargo documentation in their pockets on the move, jumped into the cab and drove out of the gate, adding themselves to the tail of the convoy... The storekeeper fussed, giving out barrels, tarpaulins, tools... The night crews hurried to finish their loose ends. The last trucks left, leaving a bluish smoke behind them. All were in a hurry, bustling... But the haste and bustle were cheerful, fresh and joyful. And the trucks also went out fresh, clean, shiny... In the evening they'll come back covered with dust, stained with cement, lime, crushed brick, having honestly spent their heavy work day.
In the middle of the yard stood the manager, Mr. Jessie, silently watching the scene. He didn't once meddle in it, never gave any orders to anyone, or said anything. Drivers ran past him, greeting him on their way, he'd nod at them, remaining calm as ice. But here, out in the yard, calm and silent, he too looked much more impressive than in his office.
I wonder what he was thinking at that moment? How much cargo his trucks would transport? But this is difficult to quantify in one's mind. There are nearly three hundred trucks at the depot, each can transport five, seven or even ten tons of cargo, some will even make several trips before the day is out. Maybe, he thought about the perils that await his three hundred trucks and drivers today? These trucks now disappear from his eyes, they will work in different parts of the district, some in different parts of the country, and who knows what can happen to each of them. The manager of a factory has it good: all the workers are right in front of him. And the manager of a truck depot has it worse: the drivers are leaving for the day; he is responsible for everyone and must worry until they all come back safe.
The last few trucks drove past and the depot immediately emptied. But only for a few minutes. One by one, the repair technicians started to trickle in, greeted the manger and dispersed throughout the different shops. The first shift was starting.
We went to Wolton with a driver named Trent Smith. He was driving construction materials to the camp so he was instructed to tow our truck on the way back. First we were to pick up roofing iron at a warehouse, and then to go to the camp. And we were thinking that we're going straight to Wolton. However, we were expected such a disappointment, that we forgot about the warehouse and the roofing iron... Bud Zephron is to go with us. He will drive the second truck.
We were terribly upset. We thought that we'd get to drive the truck being towed. But the management sent Bud Zephron. If they don't trust us, then why the fuck are they sending us for?
Bud was riding in the cab. We were in the back, in the flatbed. Sat with our backs to the cabin, staring at the view and resenting the fact that they sent Bud along.
Riding in the flatbed, incidentally, is much better than in the cabin. In the cabin you can only look forward. Say something interesting appears on the road, and then immediately disappears. And from the flatbed you can see everything for a long time. Moreover, it was a hot day, and sitting in the flatbed we got a nice breeze, which would have made the ride quite pleasant, if not for the consciousness that we are deprived of towing the truck.
We crossed the river next to the railway bridge, drove past the baseball field, down the new overpass and onto the highway, but we turned off it quickly enough, crossed the railroad twice and drove into the industrial district, aiming for the ironworks. The truck then drove through the gates of the ironworks warehouse, while we were left waiting on the street.
It was not even a street, it was an alley with solid concrete fences on both sides. I hate fences. They make me sad. When I was a small child I was afraid of fences -- it always seemed to me that someone was hiding behind them. And what are they for anyway? Like some thief is going to be stopped by a stupid fence that you can just jump over? I shared this thought with the guys. But they did not agree with me, they said -- you can't do without fences, they protect property! And Ian added in a mentoring voice:
"Don't be a smartass, Tinny."
Ian was in a particularly foul mood. In his mind, someone who is such a first class driver as he is (in reality he just has a permit, and not a real license yet, but he still drives his brother's car around town with it), could be entrusted with the towing of a vehicle. But they sent Bud Zephron... Everything irritated Ian. Even the fact that Trent Smith makes us wait so long, even though it was hardly any time at all that had passed.
To this, Smako said:
"It's not so simple to load up the truck. They put in every sheet of metal separately, weighing it first."
"Really?" -- I was surprised. -- "Why don't they just dump it all on there in one swoop?"
"Yeah, right! This is galvanized metal, it's expensive!"
I envied Peter's practical knowledge. He always knows stuff like that. Finally, Trent Smith's truck appeared in the gates. We climbed into the flatbed and lay on the iron. This way we could not see out of the sides, but we were more than familiar with the road up to Wolton. We traveled on it to camp countless times when we were younger.
Trent Smith drove the truck at full throttle. Overtaking cars, although the road to Wolton has signs prohibiting overtaking. Once he even overtook a car which itself was overtaking someone. A double overtake is a flagrant violation! But still, it was nice to race so fast. Undoubtedly, Trent Smith is a led foot driver. But he can handle that truck first class, that's for sure. If the listless Bud Zephron sat at the wheel, we would have undoubtedly crawled like a turtle.
The sun scorched. The iron quickly got hot, and we felt very warm. Even the great driving of Trent Smith did not improve our mood. We could not reconcile with the fact that Bud Zephron was sent with us. Ian was especially indignant. Twisted his lips and said sarcastically:
"`Teach the youngsters the meaning of real work', `Give them real responsibilities'... It's all just pretty words!"
"Fuckers!" -- Grimly said Smako.
"They're strangling our initiative," -- with a serious face said Vern.
This once I agreed with Ian. Indeed, the truck would be dragged with a tow rope at a speed of ten miles per hour, at most. Surely we could sit behind the wheel at those speeds!
"They send an uncle to think for us," -- continued Ian, -- "And we do not get to think. We are little children for them. And that's at fifteen years old! When Alexander of Macedon defeated the Thebans at Chaeronea, he wasn't yet eighteen. Napoleon at twenty-three years had been a general... People grew!"
He paused and added darkly:
"But nothing can be done. The twentieth century is a century of old men."
The truck continued to race along the highway. Once Trent Smith even blew a red light. He was lucky that there was no policeman around.
"I read that there is a kid in New York," -- suddenly began Smako, -- "I think he's Korean or something. He plays chess like a grandmaster, but he is only five years old."
"And how many college sports heroes there are?" -- Insisted Smako.
Ian squinted scornfully:
"You can't see the difference between physical and intellectual development?"
But Peter continued his line:
"And what about young musicians?"
"Music is a narrow talent," -- said Ian.
"And what about Bobby Driscoll? He's a pro in Hollywood," -- Vern said.
"An exceptional case," -- said Ian.
"You know what, fuck off!" -- said Vern. -- "It's impossible to please you. `An exceptional case, a narrow talent, purely physical development!..' You don't know what the fuck you want."
It was clear that after the episode with the spare parts Vern is coming out from under Ian's influence. I was very pleased with that.
"And technology is growing," -- blurted out Smako.
Smako sometimes expressed himself very unclearly. Not all understood him. But I did, having known him since forever. And when I've seen that the others didn't get what he said, I cleared up his idea:
"When Alexander the Great was around, the level of technology was very low: elephants, swords, spears and shields. You can't compare it with a modern army: you have missiles, aircraft and tanks. It takes time to master modern technology, you have to have more education."
"No, you idiot," -- laughed Ian -- "elephants were not used in Macedonia, they were used by Cyrus!"
"Macedonians fought not with Cyrus, but with Darius," -- I replied.
"What matters here are not kings, but elephants," -- said Ian.
"What matters here are not elephants, but kings," -- I said.
Ian mockingly nodded to the cabin:
"I see you really like Bud Zephron."
"Bud Zephron and Alexander of Macedon are two different things," -- I replied. -- "Washington was an old man, but that doesn't mean that his century was a century of old men, and you should stop talking bullshit."
Then we started such a slow, lazy row that I don't even remember it. It was hot, it was lazy, and we got to the turn into Wolton.
Wolton is basically one big housing estate. It is full of fences. Some even have barbed wire on top. Behind the fences live owners and summer residents. The summer residents rent from the owners. The owners shamelessly rip off the summer residents.
The truck stopped. Bud Zephron got out of the cab:
"Kids, go ahead and stamp to the camp. We'll unload the iron and catch up."
We got off the truck and went to the construction site of the camp. We saw several large wooden cottages, belted by long verandas. All around lay planks, logs, bricks and other building materials. We came into one dormitory cabin -- and found it empty. Then we went to another -- also empty. Not one live soul, nor furniture. Only in the third cabin we heard voices. They were coming from the second floor. We went up there and found the kids from the second half of our grade. In lazy poses, they lay on the floor and carried an idle conversation.
When we entered, they stopped talking and stared at us. We stared back at them. It became clear what kind of "industrial practice" they're going through.
"Working, are we?" -- derisively asked Ian.
They, as true idlers, replied:
"I envy you, that's what," -- Ian said.
From further conversation it was found out, that they have idle time due to an absence of building materials. Only half of them remained here, the other half went to swim in the lake. It was clear as day that they are not particularly sorry for the idle time they're getting.
"Seems like they feed you well up in here," -- Smako noticed.
They again defiantly replied with:
"Your dicks will go limp, that's what," -- Smako said.
They joyfully begun to guffaw, as if Peter said something very flattering. They were too lazy even to take offense.
We explained the purpose of our arrival and asked where the written off truck is.
"It's in the storekeeper's garage, he has the keys to it," -- they said.
"Perhaps you'll tear off your fucking asses from the floor and show us where the storekeeper is?" -- I asked.
Not one of them moved an inch. They again begun to guffaw and started to scoff in every possible way at our intention to restore the truck. They were, generally speaking, okay kids, but now they were in one of those moods. There are moments of mass psychosis when everyone starts to laugh uncontrollably, shout and blurt out the stupidest shit imaginable. Such a mood has descended upon them.
"Enough with the horseshit!" -- I said.
But they cracked up like crazy, all over that truck. So ridiculous and wild our intention to restore it seemed to them. They, after all, understood nothing in automechanics. They just kept spewing out ridiculous nonsense. But all their nonsense seemed to them to be the wittiest thing ever. That's a result of excessive food plus idleness for you.
"Fine, have fun making asses out of yourselves!" -- we said and went in search of the storekeeper.
...We thought that we will quickly prepare the truck for towage, then pick up and go. But everything was not at all that simple. I quickly understood that without Bud Zephron we wouldn't have been able to do anything. Trent Smith did not participate in the work at all, he just showed up for a minute and then left somewhere.
Bud ordered us to pump up the tires, and he himself began to repair the lights and turn signals. Without lights and turn signals it is forbidden to tow.
We had to first put the tires on the rims, then stuff new chambers in them, before we could pump them up. That's hard work. We twirled the tire this way and that, and likely would have kept twirling it around till the morning. Ian shouted at Vern, I too began to shout at Vern -- poor Vern was caught between us, not knowing what to do. Eventually, I realized we shouldn't shout at him like that. He was not guilty, we were just venting our irritation out on him. I ceased to shout at him and told Ian to stop shouting at him as well. Ian said: "don't tell me what to do!" -- but stopped shouting at Vern.
Bud approached, kicked tire cover on, then by pressing with a small shovel all around the tire he quickly put the cylinder in. Now we only needed to pump it up. We took turns, but Ian somehow always ended up passing the pump sooner than he should have. I said:
"This won't fly! Each one should pump a hundred times. And only then pass it on."
So that's how we cycled. A few times it seemed to us that the cylinder is pumped up, but Bud would strike it with his shovel and say: "it ain't enough!" And we kept on pumping.
It took us maybe three hours to pump up all four tires. We became mortally tired and were all covered in dust.
Bud was also finishing up his work on the lights. We jacked up the truck, took out the wooden planks from under it, and put the wheels on. This, after what we already did, seemed like trifles.
Bud got behind the wheel and told us to push the truck out of the shed. We pushed hard, but the truck did not think to move. It was completely stiffened and rusted. Bud got out of the cabin and started helping us push. The storekeeper had also come to our aid. Eventually, with much groaning by Smako and much furious shouts of the others the truck rolled out from the shed to the yard.
We were hungry like hell and told Bud that we were going to the camp to have dinner. Bud silently nodded, took out a paper parcel with sausage, bread and cucumbers and also sat down to have a bite.
We went to the camp. The dining room was empty. In the kitchen they gave us nothing, told us to wait for supper.
"There is a diner in town," -- said Vern.
"We have no money," -- we answered.
After some fluctuation Vern said:
"I'll lend you guys some, but promise: when we get our pay you'd repay me."
We swore on our life that we will repay him, and went to the diner in the finest mood possible: the diner is not the camp's dining room, where the only thing on the menu was nasty soup and orange juice.
We took a seat at a little table by the window. Vern's thick, ruddy face expressed some anxiety. He was afraid that we won't repay our debt. But he knew that now it was too late to change his mind. He took a bill out of his pocket and said:
"Here. I have a tenner. Say we use a fiver, that leaves a buck and a quarter each."
"Forget counting bucks, everyone should take what they want, and then we'll split the cost when we get our pay," -- offered Ian.
We agreed that it is silly to split a spending limit. But still, it's better for everyone to order the same stuff, that way we won't get confused who owes what. Ian made a contemptuous face, but obeyed the majority. We decided to order four herring salads, four chicken soups, four meat ragouts and four bottles of lemonade. But then Peter said that the lemonade here is rubbish for certain, and instead of four bottles of lemonade it'd be better to take two bottles of beer. We found Peter's offer reasonable. However, the waitress refused to sell us beer, even with Ian putting on his best grownup face, so we settled for two large bottles of root beer.
We took care of that herring salad in about one second, having washed it down with the root beer, so we were hungry. Then the waitress brought the very hot soup. We slightly languished after the soup, especially because we sat near the window and the sun was scorching at us with might and main. Then after the beef ragout we became totally stunned. But, in general, after dinner we felt amazing. However, the extreme fullness in combination with the scorching sun and the dead sleepy silence of the town made us extremely drowsy.
We were in no hurry. What for? We did our job, prepared the truck for towing. And anyway, Bud Zephron is going to drive it, with Trent Smith in the towing truck. They won't leave without us. And if they will leave -- good riddance! We'll go for a swim in the lake and return by train. We aren't obliged to go back with the truck. After all, it was entrusted to Bud Zephron, not us. All is well, fair trails to you!
We stopped at the cabins, where the kids from our grade would probably still be. It would have been a good idea to stop by and have a row with them, just to even the score. But there was a silent hour in the camp. If we start making noise, we'd wake the little kids. And the little kids are not guilty that they were sent the morons from our grade here.
The trucks stood right where we left them. Both Trent Smith's truck, and ours. Under it, having put his head on a seat cushion, slept Bud Zephron.
He woke up having heard our voices, got out from under the truck and hoarsely asked:
We answered that we have no idea.
Bud rinsed his face with water from the flanks and went searching for Trent Smith.
The practical Smako immediately took hold of Bud's seat cushion, and settled on it. Vern seized a seat back and also lay down. So Ian and I both rushed to Trent Smith's truck. Each of us tried to get into the cabin first. We didn't want to sleep any more, but since Vern and Smako both had comfy sleeping spots, we wanted to find an even better spot for ourselves. We simultaneously opened the cabin door and began to push each other aside. Eventually both of us fell into the cab. There was no space for both of us to lay down, so we sat. Me -- in the driver's seat, Ian -- in the passenger's.
And at this moment I noticed that Ian's gaze is glued to the instrument panel. I tracked his line of sight. All further events have begun from that moment when our sights converged in one point... Trent Smith has left the ignition key in. The truck was in our hands...
"Ahem," -- murmured Ian. -- "On my brother's Galaxie it's all completely different..."
I have no idea how a Galaxie works, but I know the International Harvester perfectly well. I passed my practice and test of one of those. So I began to explain it all to Ian. And, to explain better, I wanted to start the motor. To show him the explanations in practice.
Of course, it was Trent Smith's truck. But I will only start it for a second, nothing will happen to it. And no one will find out. I turned the ignition key, pulled out the choke, and pressed the starter pedal.
The engine roared. I quickly pushed the choke in, to reduce the gas supply... The engine settled into working at low RPM.
"It works well in low revs", -- Ian said.
"Yeah, it's good," -- I answered and switched off the ignition. The engine stopped.
"Okay, move over, let me try," -- Ian said.
We changed places. Ian switched on the ignition, paused a bit, sighed, and pressed the starter.
The engine started again.
Ian started playing with the throttle. The engine rustled stronger and then quieted down again.
"That's enough," -- I said, -- "switch it off!"
We changed places again.
"On the Galaxie the engine is quieter and smoother," -- Ian said.
I absent-mindedly answered:
"That's a stupid comparison -- the Galaxie is a car, this is a truck..."
While saying that, my left foot was pressing and releasing the clutch pedal. I tried to do it smoothly, as we were taught by the instructor. Then I took hold of the gear stick, pressed the pedal again and put it in first gear. It went in smoothly. Then I put it into second, it also went in smoothly. And then third. Then I tried to find reverse -- and it also went in perfectly well! All the gears went in easily, without pressure. If I start the engine, I'll be able to do it all in the same way. And I'll just drive wherever I want.
Ian with an indulgent face argued the advantages of his brother's Galaxie over the truck... But his words did not reach my consciousness. My consciousness had been entirely concentrated on the truck. I started the engine again. Then switched it off. Then started it again...
And here, when I started the engine for the third time, I put it in first, and while gently releasing the clutch, I started to give it some gas...
The truck slowly and smoothly moved forward.
I started to change into second gear, but it did not want to go in. I began to push it in hastily, but it still would not go. So I changed it back to first, but gave it too much gas, so the truck jolted and choked, the engine stalling.
"Not brilliant," -- said Ian.
I calmed down a bit, pulled myself together, started the engine again and, looking into the back window, began to reverse the truck. And, as soon as it reached the set off point, I braked at once. The engine stalled again.
"C minus," -- declared Ian.
I started to explain to him why it turned out this way. But Ian interrupted me:
"You can explain it in court. You stalled it twice, and that's that!"
Smako and Vern approached.
"Rolling around, are we?" -- Vern asked. And Peter said nothing. Peter generally doesn't ask questions. Especially such stupid questions.
"Move over!" -- Ian said and started to push me from out of my seat. He also wanted to drive. But I was frightened. Not for myself, for Ian, even though he was better than me at driving.
"Trent Smith will come, there'll be a wild scandal," -- I warned. Ian answered:
"Don't you worry about me. Better worry about yourself."
He started the motor, drove up to the gate, then reversed it back, then again drove to the gate, and again returned... Then he reversed it in the direction of our truck, the one that we were to tow to the depot. He stopped near it, stuck his head out the driver's window and shouted:
"Tie up the tow rope!"
"Are you fucking balmy?" -- I asked.
"Don't worry," -- Ian answered, -- "we'll only tie up the tow rope, prepare everything, and the drivers will only thanks us. Come on, Smako, tie up the tow! Vern, help him!"
Smako and Vern seized the tow rope and started adhering it. I realized that Ian had grown exited, and Vern and Smako also, and, by the looks of it, we are going to tow the truck a little bit. And if so, I was not planning on being duped. So I quickly got into the cabin of the second truck, and settled behind the wheel. If I hesitated, Vern or Smako would have intercepted me at this wheel.
"Is it ready?" -- Ian shouted, having stuck his head out of the cab.
"It's ready!" -- Vern answered. He was tying up the rope to the forward truck.
Smako answered nothing. He was tying the rope to my truck, and as always, he was mostly groaning.
"Tinny, help him!" -- Ian ordered.
But I did not even think of moving from my place. Fat chance! As soon as I'll get out of the cab, Vern or that very same Smako will instantly climb into it. Ian lost his patience, jumped out of the cab and began to help Smako himself. Together they lay under the truck, groaning, snuffling and swearing... Then they rose up, panting and shaking the dust off of themselves. All was ready.
"So!" -- Ian disposed. -- "Vern, you stand on Tinny's footboard. You, Smako, stand on mine. You two will transfer signals between us. Tinny, are you ready?"
I answered that I'm ready, and grasped at the wheel strongly. Vern jumped up on my footboard.
The forward truck started moving. The tow rope stretched. My truck jolted and also started rolling forward.
I'm not a bad driver. Our instructor said I drive "confidently". But now I had no confidence. Because I wasn't really driving, I was being dragged. Dragged on a rope. I depended on Ian, rather than myself. Now, Ian may be able to drive a car. But to tow a truck with a truck is an absolutely different matter. You must think of the one whom you're towing. And Ian, as usual, was only thinking of himself. He was jolting, and the cable kept weakening, and then stretching again. I was afraid to run into Ian's truck.
We drove out from the yard and stopped. Ian got out his cab and approached me:
"How are you doing?"
"Allright! But stop twitching so much, please!" -- I asked.
"You're twitching it youself," -- Ian answered.
Again, we started moving forward. To the right of the road there was a wood, to the left -- a deep enough ravine. The road was full of potholes. But neither the wood, nor the ravine, nor the potholes frightened me. I felt much more confident now.
Ian too felt more confident. He started going faster. Jolted again. Then he jolted hard when he was switching to second gear. My truck suddenly, and quite sharply, started pulling to the right. I turned the wheel to the left. Ian jolted again. My truck was thrown to the left. I turned the wheel to the right... the truck started throwing me right and left... I shouted to Vern: "Stop!" Vern started to wave his hands, but Ian did not stop. My truck was once again thrown to the left, to the ravine. I turned the wheel right as far as it would go, but the steering no longer obeyed my wheel. I pressed hard on the brake... but it was too late... My truck tilted and started slipping into the ravine... Vern's frightened face flashed before me... He jumped off the footboard and rolled downwards. My truck crept and leaned more and more. I fell from my seat onto the door...
It was impossible to get out on my side: the cabin nearly lay on it's side, so the door was blocked by the earth. Something painfully burned on my hands, I didn't pay attention to it though. My only thought was to get the fuck out of here as quickly as possible. I tried to open the passenger door, which was over me. The door did not open, it's frame was warped. Fortunately, there was no glass in the window. I cautiously pulled up and, resting one foot on a seat and the other on the steering wheel, got out of the cab, and jumped off to the ground, looked around and saw the following picture.
My truck laid on one side, on the breakage, having leaned it's body against a tree. But what kept it from falling down the ravine was not the tree, but the tow rope adhered to Trent Smith's truck. It was as tense as a string, and my truck was almost literally hanging on it. Behind the truck along the slope was a strip of dug--up earth and broken bush -- Ian dragged me along the breakage for about sixty feet.
Ian's truck stood on the road. Ian, having stuck his head out of the cab, looked at me. He did not get out, was afraid to take his foot off the brake. He was pale. Peter was standing on his footboard, he wasn't pale. Below me was Vern. He stood almost at the bottom of the ravine, so I did not see whether or not he was pale.
All three looked at me with horror. And none of them moved an inch. They obviously thought that I was killed, and were afraid to approach. But I was alive. I wasn't even hurt at all. I only burned my hands with something. And then I realized that my hands were burned with the acid from the battery. Bud Zephron put a battery in the cabin temporarily, so the lights would work on the way to Somerset. But it was no big deal. It's not sulfuric acid in the battery, it's electrolyte, a solution, it won't burn through my skin. It will only sting for a while and pass.
"Tinny, are you alive?" -- Vern cried and run up to me.
"No, I'm dead," -- I answered.
Smako also approached. They looked at me as if I really did return from the next world.
"What, do I look different?" -- I said.
"How did this happen?" -- Smako asked.
I shrugged my shoulders. I didn't understand it myself, how I ended up in the ravine. I didn't let the wheel out of my hands, didn't lose consciousness. I only remembered that the wheel suddenly ceased to obey me. Or, more accurately, the truck ceased obeying the wheel. And then it got dragged into the ravine.
"Come here!" -- Ian cried.
He, the poor guy, could not remove his foot from the brake. We approached him.
"What happened?" -- asked Ian.
"Like you don't see!"
"But how did it happen?"
"Fuck if I know! You began to jolt again, and the truck lost it's steering."
Ian's lips began to tremble:
"When did I jolt?!"
"All the time! Vern was shouting at you to stop, and you just kept fucking forward."
"No way!" -- Ian boiled. -- "I stopped immediately!"
"That's interesting... So who dragged me down the breakage, your uncle? Sixty feet, look at that..."
"But why did you steer into the fucking ravine?!"
"I didn't!.. The truck stopped responding to the wheel. Maybe the steering on it is malfunctioning... After all, we don't know this truck. We shouldn't had started to tow it, that's what! All because you felt like a drive..."
"And who was the first to start the truck? Who was the first to drive?" -- quarrelsomely objected Ian.
"Let's not bargain," -- I gloomily said, -- "after all you are always right. Let's think what to do now."
Nobody knew what to do.
"Let's put rocks under this truck so that it wouldn't get dragged into the ravine as well."
We put big stones under all four wheels. Ian cautiously removed his foot from the brake. The truck remained in place.
"You can get out," -- I said, -- "only leave it on the parking brake and in first gear."
"You're not the only one who's so clever," -- answered Ian and got out of the cab.
We went down to my truck.
"If there was gas in it, there would have been a fire," -- Vern said.
But it was uninteresting to us what could have been worse. For us what had happened was quite bad enough.
"There will be a huge scandal!" -- said Vern.
"Let's agree: we sell no one."
The rest agreed: we'll all take the blame.
We began to think how we can pull out the truck. The tow rope was strong, but the breakage was very abrupt, and the truck lay on one side. Nevertheless Ian suggested we try.
"Forget it, it's dangerous!" -- Smako said. -- "we'll put the second truck in here. If we take it off the brake, it will be dragged down as well."
"So what do you want us to do?"
We didn't have time to think what else to do, as down the road appeared Trent Smith and Bud Zephron.
I will not write down our conversation here. Instead of the long string of very nasty words said by Trent Smith, I'll put down a string of dots...... However together with those dots, what reached us was a strong scent of beer. And Trent Smith's face was red as a tomato.
Meanwhile Bud Zephron sat down and examined the place where the cable had been adhered. He then risen and calmly said:
"What, to the mutherfucking pulley?!" -- asked Trent Smith, and his face filled with blood.
Dots again rushed at us. It was quite impressive really, the capacity of Trent Smith for all-encompassing, deep-going cusses, which included not only us, but our entire families, our future offspring and the bloodline we will create. While he was cussing at as, I sat down and looked under the truck. And at once the cause of the accident became clear to me. The towing cable had been fixed not to the frame as it should have been, but to the cross--section steering pulley. From Ian's jerk the pulley was turned inside out, and the truck lost it's steering. That is why I found myself in the ditch. Adhering the towing cable to any part of the steering mechanism is a huge technical error. It inevitably ends with an accident. We had gotten off easy, actually. If the trucks would have had time to pick up more speed, or we would have gotten to a road with counter traffic -- me and Vern would be nothing but a memory.
I got goosebumps when I thought of that. What would happen to mom if I died! It's terrible to even think!
I looked at Ian and Peter. It was them who adhered the cable. Ian stood there pale as a cloth, he was awfully afraid of responsibility. And Smako seemed normal enough. His complexion was the usual color.
We eventually pulled out the truck. But we toiled with it till the evening. We got help from the other kids from our grade, who we summoned from the camp, and summer residents in pajamas. The summer residents argued amongst each other and gave out advice, but didn't actually do any work.
The other kids persistently questioned us how this happened. We told them nothing. There was an accident, that's it! Details in the news...
It started to darken quickly. Both trucks were finally back on the road. The crowd dispersed. Remained only Trent Smith, Bud Zephron and we four. Trent Smith declared that towing the truck in the dark, moreover with malfunctioning steering, is impossible, collected the tools, threw the tow rope in to the flatbed and shouted to Bud:
"Climb into the flatbed, kids!" -- said Bud.
"What, and just leave the truck here?"
"Look at the little fuck, he still argues!" -- shouted Trent Smith.
"Don't worry, kid, nothing will happen to it," -- said Bud.
But I had resolved to remain:
"No! We can't just abandon the truck, we are responsible for it. You guys go, and tell them to send the mobile repair unit out to get us in the morning."
"Fine then, stay if you wanna!" -- shouted Trent Smith and got into the cab.
But Bud did not want to leave us. He started persuading us to go.
All this time Ian was silent. Then he took us aside and said:
"Some of us should go back into town. Firstly, to inform the parents about those who remained. Secondly, to organize the help."
"I see, you would really like to leave," -- I replied, -- "So go. And take Vern with you as well. He'll also probably like to go home."
Ian pretended not to notice my irony:
"I think that would be best. Vern will notify your parents, and I will find the manager, and he'll send the mobile repair unit, and I'll come back with that."
Of course, Ian will not find any manager at this hour, and no one will send the repair unit at night. But he really didn't want to remain.
I derisively said:
"Go, go, no one is holding you."
Ian again turned a deaf ear to my sneer and said:
"It will be better this way, you'll see. Or maybe you and Smako should go, and Vern and I should remain?"
I knew that he will not remain for anything:
"Just go already, enough bullshit!"
"Are you coming or not?" -- bellowed Trent Smith from his cab.
"Yeah, just a sec!" -- shouted Ian and asked me: -- "So, we're decided?"
"Yeah, we're decided," -- I answered gloomily.
"Let's go, Vern!" -- Ian said.
Vern suddenly said:
"I'm not going!"
"I'm staying with Tinny and Smako."
"Don't be a moron!" -- Ian became angry. -- "I told you -- let's go, so let's go!"
Vern suddenly came close to Ian, and quietly, but distinctly, said:
"If you shout at me one more time, I'll smash your fucking face in, get it?.."
Now I was convinced that Vern is definitively out from under Ian's influence.
"Well, the hell with you then!" -- Ian said and jumped into the flatbed. The truck took off, and a minute later the red sparks of it's taillights disappeared in the wood.
The three of us remained together near the broken truck.
The night has come. It was silent and fresh. The Wood on the right darkened. Up the road we could see the lights of the summer camp, and a bit more to the right -- the sporadic lights of the housing estate. We sat down at the roadside and began to think about why we hadn't returned to Somerset.
It was late to think about this now. We should have thought about it before we remained here. But since we didn't do it then, we decided to do it now.
How would it have been if we left? We would arrive at the truck depot without the truck, because we put it in a ditch, we had an accident. And, of course, the second time they would not send us, they'd send professionals to tow it. So it would turn out: we couldn't bring the truck, and they could. We would prove ourselves useless.
Now, however, is an absolutely different matter. Tomorrow we will bring this truck into the depot. And, whatever they say, the fact remains -- we brought the truck. Despite the accident. We will thus prove our solvency. And what happened along the way means nothing! Many things can happen on the road. Especially with a faulty, unfamiliar truck, that stood all winter long in a shed. That is why we remained here. And not because were afraid for the stupid truck. Who will touch this piece of junk at night!
Having solved the question of why we remained, we started to discuss the accident.
I told Smako:
"You're a moron, Pete! Could not distinguish a steering pulley from a towing hook..."
"I distinguished," -- Smako answered, -- "but Ian jumped in and pulled the rope under the pulley."
"And you said nothing..."
"I wanted to say something, but you guys already started driving."
"You should learn to think faster."
"And I fixed the rope properly."
"Yeah, right!" -- objected Smako. -- "To the flatbed frame... There is a special hook there, right under your nose."
"A hook or not, but I fixed it correctly," -- Vern was very happy that for once the accident was not his fault. He has gotten used to always being guilty, and this time everyone was guilty except for him.
"And where did you run off to when it happened? It's a good thing you didn't get to china," -- I noticed.
"Hey, did you see where I stood?!" -- Vern objected. -- "the truck was falling directly onto me."
"What, you think it was pleasant to sit in the truck when it was flipping over?" -- I asked. -- "I could also jump out and escape a mile away. And I sat at the wheel to the last second."
"The captain must go down with the ship..." -- Vern started singing.
"When you got out of the truck, your hands and feet were shivering!" -- said Smako.
"They were not shivering!" -- I argued.
I groped down my right trouser-leg for a hole in size in a fist. When I touched it, the fabric under my fingers started to creep away... Damn! I burned my trousers with the acid from the battery. The electrolyte may not burn through skin, but it destroys fabric instantly. This sucks! This way by the morning I'll have no pants left. I took my trousers off. Under the moonlight we began to assess how badly they were burned by the acid, and whether or not I can go in them tomorrow into the city. It appeared that there were two holes. Both on the right trouser--leg. One near the knee, and another at the very bottom.
"That's the end of your pants, man," -- Smako said.
"Never mind," -- consoled me Vern, -- "it's better with ventilation."
A fresh breeze blew. It was cold to stand there in my underwear, so I put my trousers back on.
We decided to just go to sleep. When you sleep, it bothers you less that you really want to eat. Smako climbed into the flatbed, while me and Vern shared the cabin. We sat down in different corners of the cabin, leaned our heads against the doors. We wanted to stretch out, but then again we also wanted to eat, or to at least cover ourselves with something warm -- there was no glass in the cabin windows...
I dreamed that I'm being dragged along the slope in the truck again. Only now, to my surprise, the engine was working. It's weird, because I know that there is no gasoline in the tank. I honk as much as I can, banging the button with my fist. But Ian does not stop. Then I lean on the horn button, and it honks continuously...
I felt that I'm falling, shook my head and woke up. I heard faint construction sounds. Also, I realized it was wake up time in the camp, as I heard the trumpet sound. There was light out. What, did the night pass already? It seemed to me that we only just fell asleep.
I woke Vern and Smako.
They had really rumpled muzzles. But, when I informed them of this fact, they objected that they had never before seen such a repulsive physiognomy as mine.
We got out of the cabin. After a small discussion we decided that two of us will go to camp, to the dining room, and bring back food, while one has to stay behind to guard the truck. We drew straws. Of course, I drew the short one and was assigned to stay on duty in the truck. Amazing bad luck! Smako and Vern left. I remained alone and decided to walk down the road a little to stretch my legs.
I was awfully hungry, and found myself walking in the direction of the camp to meet the guys halfway and get what they bring me. I kept walking, constantly looking back. Certainly, it was way early for the rescue party to arrive from Somerset. It will take them a while to equip the mobile repair unit and drive all the way out here. I estimated that they will only arrive in about two hours, maybe even three. Nevertheless, I kept looking back: what if they arrive early?
However, before I reached the turn that would hide our truck from view, I heard faint voices and rustling off the road, in the thickets. Curious as to who could be here, away from town and the camp, on a stretch of deserted road, I quietly made my way off the road and into the bushes. Having walked along an indistinct path through a few sets of tall branchy growth, I suddenly saw a small clearing, surrounded by trees. The voices I heard definitely came from that clearing, and having peeped out from behind the bushes, I quickly spotted their source; and my heart skipped a beat.
There were three boys on the clearing, clearly from the camp, as they were wearing the shirts with the camp's logo on them. One was about twelve, the other two about ten. The two younger ones were naked from the waist down, their pants and underwear in a pile at the base of a large oak near which they stood. The older one had his pants around his ankles. One of the younger ones was enthusiastically sucking off the older one, who had a dreamy, far away expression on his face. The other younger one was looking at this spectacle, while furiously stroking himself. Neither one of them said anything, except the occasional quiet moan. It was so silent around that I could distinctly hear the slurping sounds of the sucking.
My dick immediately got hard as a rock. I quickly considered a course of action. I could just retreat the way I came, and they'd never know I was even here. Or, a mischievous and horny voice inside my head said, I could have some fun of my own: I was confident that if I jumped onto the clearing now and surprised them, catching them -- literally -- with their pants down, I'd be able to have them give me all sorts of pleasure, by threatening to tell on them to the camp's management.
But after some consideration I came to the conclusion that I can't do that. That'd just be a nasty thing to do. They looked so peaceful and content, having their little orgy, I just couldn't ruin it for them with threats and fear. They should enjoy their sexual exploits in peace, as Pete and I were free to enjoy ours when we were their age. However, I couldn't just leave now either, with my boner raging and my lust lumped up into a ball in my throat. I decided to go for the third and peaceful option: to keep spying on them and wank myself off. Very slowly, as to not make any noise, I crawled into the bush to my left. It had a niche just large enough for me to fit into, while still retaining complete overview, through the branches, on what was going on, but effectively hiding me from their view.
However, I think that even if I would have walked out to the clearing in plain sight of them, they wouldn't had noticed me, so they were immersed in what they were doing. They had clearly done this here before, and considered this spot to be completely safe and away from everything. And, in fact, it was; usually. How were they to know that a bunch of older kids had a huge accident just a few hundred feet from this very spot, and remained there to guard the damaged truck?.. Even when a branch snapped loudly under my knee as I was settling down, not one of them even slightly noticed anything. I took my hard dick out of my damaged trousers, and started slowly stroking it while I had a better look at the boys through the branches.
The two younger boys were the same height and build, both slender and pale--skinned. However, one of them (the one doing the sucking) had very bright blond hair, the longish strands of which fell onto the cute boy's forehead; while the other one had a raven black crew-cut on his head. Both had very cute, even pretty, faces. The twelve-year-old, in contrast to their nearly identical milky-white bodies, was very tanned, almost appearing chocolate-colored next to them. He had brown hair and gorgeous, large chestnut colored eyes. Those eyes flung open wide, and then closed again, in pure bliss, as the boy was obviously approaching his climax. The kid sucking him was moving faster now, but evidently that wasn't enough for the older kid, as he suddenly moaned and took the younger boy's head with his hands and started earnestly face-fucking him. The boy gagged a bit a first, but held it together, and slipped his now free hands to take care of his own tiny little package, which was standing at full attention.
"I'm getting the feeling!" -- the older boy sang in a high-pitched, slightly hoarse voice, and bucked his hips faster as he unloaded into the younger boy's mouth. When he was finished, he jumped back and leaned against the oak tree, spent; while the younger boy diligently spit out a load that was obviously deposited into his mouth. I looked at the twelve-year-old's dick; this was the first time I could see it, as it was now out of the younger boy's mouth. It was still hard and pointing upwards, and I noticed (with some mild envy) that it was quite large for a boy his age: almost as long as mine. The two ten-year-olds, meanwhile, were not wasting time. The raven-haired one told the blond one:
"Now let me do you!"
The blond boy nodded, and I was expecting the raven-haired one to start sucking him off... but imagine my amazement, when instead both of them suddenly laid down on the grass, and the raven haired one promptly spit on his very hard little dick (that he kept rubbing this whole time), got on his knees in front of the blond one, pulled him closer by his ankles and... stuck his hard little cock into the blond boy's butt!
I even quit stroking myself, I was so amazed. I've heard of boys doing that to each other somewhere, but I never actually saw it happen, or had it happen to me, ever; and thus I never gave it much thought. It looked incredibly hot, however, so I quickly resumed my wanking. The raven haired boy was rapidly fucking the blond one. Then he paused for a second to take hold of the blond boy's dick in front of him, and resumed his hasty pumping while simultaneously stroking his friend's cock. Both boys were loudly breathing and quietly moaning. The older boy, meanwhile, was looking at this spectacle while absent-mindly stroking his lengthy meat. Not at all concerned with the fact that he just came a minute and a half ago, he then approached the dark haired one and waved his hard dick near the boy's face. And that one took it into his mouth and started sucking, while he was fucking the blond one!.. This sight was too much for me to bear, and my dick exploded with a powerful orgasm, spewing watery cum over the leaves of the bush in which I was sitting. And just as I was coming down from the heights of my climax, I heard high--pitched moans as the blond haired boy, who was being fucked and wanked at the same time, was having his (obviously, completely dry) peak. His spasms probably triggered the dark haired kid, who took the twelve-year-old's cock out of his mouth and started moaning as well, driving his pelvis hard into the blond boy. The twelve year old had his second orgasm of the last five minutes with his own hand, as the two younger boys were recuperating from their experience, loud breathing filling the silence of this picturesque forest clearing. After another couple of minutes of getting themselves together, all three boys got dressed. While they were pulling their pants on, the dark haired one asked of the older one:
"Meet here tomorrow during nap time?"
The twelve year old, who was just then zipping up, said:
"I'll be here! Now let's go, or we'll be late for breakfast!"
And the three of them, giggling and playfully pushing each other, ran off the clearing following a path leading in the direction of the camp.
This scheduling of theirs gave me a thought that it would be a good idea to visit these parts again, and maybe even participate in their activities. However, this thought was quickly trumped by another: their words about breakfast reminded me of the reason I left the truck in the first place, and my stomach immediately growled. I quickly wiped my dick off with the hem of my shirt and retreated back the way I came until I was standing on the road again. The truck was, of course, right where I left it; and, of course, those assholes were still not back with the food. So I started walking in the direction of the camp again. I passed the turn, then another one, which finally hid the truck from view. I consoled myself with the thought that if the mobile repair unit will arrive, I will surely hear it. Finally, I was out of ear shot as well, but I thought: the hell with it already, nothing happened to it during the ten minutes I was watching this unexpected boy orgy I stumbled upon, nothing will happen to it now...
With such thoughts in my head, I've reached the camp. Smells of fresh bread, porridge and fried meat struck my nose. The noise emanating from the dining room designated that breakfast was in full swing. I started running towards the canopy under which sat the kids from our grade.
End of Part 3 (includes Chapters 11,12,13,14,15)
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