Independence Day

By Bix Meister

 

This is a story featuring gay men, and gay sex, intended for Adults, not Minors.  It is fiction, and as such is not based on any actual people or events.  It is a fantasy intended purely as a catalyst for pleasure.  No attempts have been made to portray safe sex, but the author encourages you to practice it.

 

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"What we're gonna do right here is go back, way back, back into time"*

July 4th many, many years, B.C., give or take a few thousand:

A glacial lake is formed in Northern Minnesota. At three miles in length, with a slight dogleg, it resembles either Italy, or a pesky par 5 golf hole. The surrounding hilly geography was created at the same time.

Alternate Facts, and legend, states that the aforementioned lake was created by the oversized, bearded, hairy, lumberjack, Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe. Science, or alternate facts, you decide.

The first residents of the area were Ojibway Indians, who set up camp at the headwaters on the northern side of the lake. The Ojibway didn't name the lake, but they'd describe the area with the word Pikwadina which means "it is hilly" whenever they'd deal with the French fur trappers and traders who were the first white residents of the area.

Loggers were soon to follow in the 1850's. By 1880-81, loggers had cut 25 million feet of pine in the area they dubbed Pequadna. They somehow figured it rolled off the tongue more elegantly than "It is Hilly."

July 3rd, 2017, authors note. Four paragraphs in, and I've already talked about Trappers, and Lumbermen and their abundant fur and wood. If you don't have a boner by now, it's not my fault.

Now, where was I?

July 4th, 1899:The Pequadna Township is organized. Among the names who signed the papers to organize the township, was E.M. Halverson. The main residential area is platted on the southwest end of the lake. Again, the townsfolk reject the name "It is Hilly" because they had the foresight to realize it wouldn't translate well on a picture postcard. One pioneer pointed out that when spoken rapidly, the name sounded like It is Silly. E.M. Halverson is the only hold out for the "It is Hilly" name.

July 4th, 1956: E.M. Halverson the fourth, is born.

July 4th, 1974:

"Hey, Halverson! Wanna go check out the greased pole climb down at the park?"

Now there is one thing you don't do in Pequadna on the Fourth of July, and that is yell out "Hey Halverson!" I was among the thirty or so Halversons within earshot, who turned. There were at least fifty more Halversons watching the egg toss from their perch on Halverson Hill, and a dozen or more, out on Main Street, tossing eggs.

Let me elaborate. You don't mess with the Halversons, during the egg toss on Main Street, in Pequadna, Minnesota, U S of A, on the Fourth of July.

That is, unless you are my best friend Jimmy LaPlante, and the Halverson you are directing your "Hey Halverson" at, is me Everett Michael Halverson the fourth.

Now you know why my ancestor preferred "It is Hilly."

Now you know why Jimmy just calls me Halverson.

Jimmy and I go back, way back. He lived in the country, and I lived in the city, if you want to call it that. The city limit signs proclaimed Pequadna Pop. 469. That was on a good day.

On a great day, July Fourth to be exact, Pequadna triples in size. The Fourth was on a Thursday in 1974, and former Pequadna residents returned for their annual trek. They'd bring along their kids, and grandkids, and pets. Cars would have to park blocks away to see the parade and street games.

They'd give out cash prizes to the winners of the street races and egg toss. You've probably figured out that the egg toss was important to the Halverson clan. It wasn't for the cash prizes, no sir. It's the legacy. A Halverson has been among the winners of the egg toss for as long as they've kept records. Recently the competition had become so fierce, that they had to add more heats, and more prizes, and more eggs. All the prizes, and eggs, were donated by my dad, E.M. Halverson, the Third.

Again, that brings me back to me and Jimmy, and why it's okay that he yelled out "Hey Halverson," during the egg toss.

The egg toss gene, skipped me.

I was more likely to whip, shirr, poach, scramble, or baste those eggs, than toss them. Not that I didn't mind watching my friends, and family during the egg toss. The Pequadna Fourth of July was my favorite day on the calendar. When I was young I thought the whole town was celebrating my birthday. I loved walking three blocks to downtown, and stake the claim for my family on Halverson Hill. I'd partake in every element of the Fourth celebration, except I wouldn't participate in the Street Games.

So, when Jimmy LaPlante asked me to join him at the greased pole climb, I said "You Betcha." I am a Minnesotan after all.

Dad gave me a sour look when I walked off with Jimmy. Jimmy and I were best friends. Everyone in Pequadna knew that. We were always together, and when we weren't, I'd hear about it. "Hey Frick, where's Frack?"

"You've got us confused," I'd respond. "I'm Frack, he's Frick."

Personally, I grew tired of this Frick'n Frack bullshit, for one reason. I was frick'n in love with my Frick'n friend Jimmy.

But this was 1974. I had just graduated from Pequadna High School in a class of twenty-eight seniors. Gay Liberation was something you only read about furtively, for fear someone would see your interest. I read the gay sex chapters in "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex" the same way.

I was sure everyone had figured me out already. I was the skinny tall kid, 6'2" and about 140 pounds. Mom had to sew the pants I wore to school, because finding a pair of 28" waist with 34" inseam, was next to impossible. I was also into Glam rock bands and artists like David Bowie, Elton John and T-Rex. In additiona I was extremely into the soul music of the early seventies. No one in Pequadna, shared my taste in music, except possibly Jimmy.

Jimmy, on the other hand was half French Canadian, quarter, Norwegian and quarter Ojibway. In a town overrunning with Halversons, Nelsons, Hansens, Rydens, and Stewarts, Jimmy was exotic.

We were eye to eye, growing up. He had his growth spurt early, but stopped at 5'7" and then grew stockier. He had wide shoulders, strong biceps, a nice round belly, bubble butt, and thick thighs, all covered in fur. There were other, bigger, more well-hung guys in my class that I'd notice in the shower after phy-ed, but he was the one that got me going.

We were together every hour of school. We took study hall at the same time. I'd write stories, and he would illustrate them. His sketches were quick, yet detailed. I could draw a more accurate portrait from a photo, but his grew from his mind.

I wasn't anything like him. Sure, I was the same height as him for a while, but I was scrawny and barely had dick fuzz. Two years later I leap-frogged him, gaining six inches of height in one year. I gained inches elsewhere, if you get my drift. And slowly but surely, I started to grow my own fur.

I remember rereading the popular sex books that year. One of them claimed that homosexuals had larger penises, allowing them to attract other homosexuals. Maybe there was something to that, I thought to myself.

Yep, I was in love with my friend, Jimmy, and I'd be saying goodbye to him today. You betcha I'd go see him do the greased pole climb.

He'd been talking `bout it for weeks. "I'm like a Brillo pad, see? I'll simply use my fur to scour away the grease while I climb that pole. Everyone else puts sand on their thighs and hands, I got the secret weapon."

He even set up a mock pine lodge pole behind his barn. He got it from my cousin, once removed, H.C. Halverson, the Halverson who owned the phone company. The Halverson who supplied the telephone pole for the greased pole climb.

H.C. also supplied the grease, and the money that went on the pole. For my uninitiated readers, a greased pole climb, is just that. They place a de-barked, pine telephone pole into the ground, slather grease all over it, and then stick dollar bills on it. A little higher on the pole, the bills denomination increased. There was always a twenty or two stuck near the top.

Winding our way through the crowd meant were at the park in minutes. A few of the guys were rubbing sand on their bodies "Waste of time, buddy, you'll see," Jimmy whispered in my ear.

"Fuck," His breath on my neck got to me. My dick was gonna be obvious in my cut-off jeans.

His strong arm pulled me closer "I'll let them get the low hanging fruit. I'm going for the gold. H.C. told me he was putting two twenties on it this year."

Did I tell you that my first cousin, once removed, H.C. employed Jimmy to shimmy up the telephone lines and trouble shoot? He called Jimmy, Chimp, and gave me the nickname Z. Chimp and Z, get it?

We watched other guys, crash and burn. They'd nab a buck or two, one got a fiver, but they'd slide down the pole, sooner more often than later.

Jimmy finally got in line, and I stood off to the side. He was wearing his gym shorts in the school colors, Purple and White, fight, fight, fight. They bunched up at the front due to his big balls uncut dick and thick bush. His big butt out back, caused the side vents of the shorts to pull at the seams. He took off his t-shirt when he was next in line, and tucked it into his waistband, just a little to the left.

I was dumbstruck at the sight of the boy/man that I loved. He looked over at me, and winked when it was his turn. "Hey Halverson, I'm buying lunch."

He hiked up his shorts and attacked the pole in a bear hug, then started shimmying up it. He almost forgot to grab the bills, but got one then grunted out, "Hey Halverson, catch."

He balled up the bill, then threw it my way. I positioned myself so he would be able to drop the money to me, without losing momentum. By the time I had twelve dollars, I saw one of his nuts fall from his gym shorts. I looked around to see if anyone else noticed, but it was only me. He yanked another bill from the grease, and dropped it my way.

The fiver, meant he had gotten seventeen dollars. There were still a few tens and twenties, so he persisted. He avoided a couple of smaller bills, and reached for the ten. When he reached, his dick-head popped below the hem of the gym shorts. Damn, his foreskin even retracted.

I wasn't sure if he saw me lick my lips, but I certainly caught his wink as he crumpled the bill and dropped it to me. He shimmied past a few tens, going for the twenties. If he got them, he'd be pocketing sixty-seven dollars.

I kept my eye on Jimmy's crotch, watching his dick and balls slide against the grease covered pole as he shimmied higher. It was a private show for me, whether he knew it or not. I saw him purposefully stick a ten back into the grease. He wasn't showboating, he had his goal.

With two more bear-hugging shimmies, Jimmy was at the top of the pole. One, then two, twenty dollar bills were in his grasp. He nabbed them, stuck them in his teeth, adjusted his crotch, then slowly lowered himself to the ground.

"Lunch is on me, Halverson."

He was covered in grease. All that lovely fur was matted down in swirls of the sticky stuff. His gym shorts were streaked with grease and the sand of all those who had failed before him. He never looked sexier in his life.

FUCK, why did I decide to take the job in the cities two months before the U of M started up for the fall? Why was I leaving the next day? Why didn't I agree to stay a few more weeks and help his family bale hay?

Even though he was dirty, and greasy, I walked with Jimmy to the burger truck. My Aunt Leona was there with her sister in law on her husband's side of the family, Wanda. We ordered two burgers, chips and cokes. Even with a five-dollar tip to the Fire Department, Jimmy had fifty-seven dollars left.

I grabbed a few extra paper napkins from the dispenser, and dabbed some of the grease from Jimmy's cheek. "Ain't that sweet? You're gonna make a nice wife to some lucky man one of these days."

"Fuck you, Wanda," I thought to myself. "No wonder, your man plays the field on his business trips."

I took a bite of my burger, then turned to Jimmy. "Let's get outta here. C'mon you can clean up at my home before we head down to the beach and watch the water show."

We were about halfway home when Jimmy stopped me. "Why does she have to say shit like that? We're just friends."

"Some people think men should grow out of the stage where they have close friends. It makes them uncomfortable." I tried my best to lie. Aunt Wanda never passed up a chance to put me down. I didn't know why, she just did. And I didn't know why the family called her Aunt Wanda. She was just a shirt-tale relative, with no Halverson blood in her line. She certainly raised a fuss with my entries for the Pequadna slogan contest.

Funny story about that. Just the year before they had a slogan contest to promote the town. They were hoping for something that would rival the Blackduck Minnesota slogan, "Where the hell is Blackduck?" You couldn't drive anywhere in Minnesota in the early 70's without seeing that slogan on a bumper sticker. Pequadna wanted something just as catchy. My three entrants:

1.     Pequadna, At least we're not Blackduck.

2.     Pequadna, We're 469

3.     Pequadna, It's Still Hilly

Guess who didn't win. Aunt Wanda complained to my dad, E.M. Halverson the Third, about my entries. He gave me his usual sour look, until I shared my entries, which caused him to break out laughing. Later he told the Wanda to insert her tampon the right way and keep her nose out of my business.

Obviously, she didn't take his advice.

Everyone was still downtown when we got to my home. I showed Jimmy the bathroom, grabbed him a towel, and while I remembered, I got the degreasing dish detergent from the kitchen. He got naked, threw me his gym trunks and jock, and then started to shower.

I went down to the basement, and started filling the washing machine. I pretreated the gym shorts, threw them in, then pulled his jock to my face.

I inhaled the scent of the man I loved, and boned up.

 

July 4th, 1999:

"Sir, do you have any idea why I stopped you? License, registration, and proof of insurance, please."

What a fucking way to be pulled out of my reminiscing. For once I was convinced the story was going to change. For once I was sure that when I put Jimmy's clothes in the washing machine, I was going to waltz right up to the bathroom, slip in the shower with Jimmy, and make passionate love.

I could still smell the scent of his balls on his jock. The memory was that strong. Instead, I turned down the radio. The Jimmy Castor Bunch would have to take me back, way back to The Troglodyte time, another time.

The highway patrolman looked at my license, registration and proof of insurance. "Halverson, huh? Any relation to Sheriff Halverson from Pequadna? Seems like everyone in Pequadna is a Halverson, Hansen, Ryden or Stewart."

"Halverson and Stewart, here," I chuckled. "I think I might be Uncle Bill's favorite nephew. On my way there for the Fourth."

"Oh, you're not the uh nephew?"

I laughed. "Not sure exactly what that means, but I have a feeling that I am uh the uh nephew."

"Well, you see it's like this. Some of the guys aren't all that comfortable with certain factions of society. Your Uncle Bill has been using you as an example in his sensitivity training."

"No shit?" I laughed.

"No shit. It's obvious he thinks the world of you. Although from the sound of it, the feeling isn't unanimous in the family."

I looked at his badge. "So, officer Leonardo, what made you peg me as the uh nephew?"

"Well, I pull you over and you got a boner. And, you know the saying, it takes one to know one. I figure you might have a uniform fetish. And um uh I don't know how to say this, but your face reminds me of someone I've seen in a magazine." We were pulled over on a two-lane highway, miles from the next town, and Patrolman Leonardo felt the need for privacy. He leaned in and whispered, "Anyone ever tell you that you look like one of the cartoons in Bear magazine, or the cartoon on that shirt you are wearing?"

"All the fucking time. I wish I got royalties. But, to be honest, you can blame the boner on someone else, someone from my past, my long ago past." I adjusted myself, half for my comfort, and half for the Patrolman's pleasure. "So, sensitivity training, and an out of the closet Highway Patrolman? Minnesota really has come a long way, hasn't it?"

"I'm not exactly out, but I'm testing the waters. Say listen, I'm heading up to Pequadna too and I will be off the clock when I get there. We don't want to be late. Why don't we forget the ticket, it's your birthday after all? Just buy me a beer after the parade. Follow me, we'll make it on time."

This wasn't possibly happening. Not in my home county. Not in the county that Uncle Bill Halverson was the sheriff of. Patrolman Leonardo was eye candy, and I would be buying him a beer, and I even got the feeling he might want more. However, I knew that my sights were set elsewhere.

I let the Patrolman pull out onto the black-top and signaled to follow him. We had 7 miles to go before the rumble strips would remind us to stop, before taking a right, for our last 24 miles to Pequadna.

The rumble strips were there for those motorists who daydreamed on this relatively straight stretch of road. If Patrolman Leonardo hadn't stopped my reminiscing, the rumble strips would have done their job, about seven minutes later.

I kept the Highway Patrol car in my vision, and adjusted the cruise to match his speed. Most of the holiday traffic had happened the day before, or earlier that day, so we had clear sailing at 12 miles over the limit.

When the rumble strips shook my car, I slowed, then turned right. I caught a glimpse of a landmark from my youth, the neon clock. Years ago, when we'd drive to the Twin Cities, or further south to Owatonna to see my aunt and uncle, the neon clock was a glowing reminder that we were either 24 miles into our trip, or 24 miles from home.

The clock was on an old Mobil service station. It always appeared that Pegasus was flying in the middle of the clock, being back-lit. The Mobil station closed in the early seventies. The clapboard siding was weathered and gray, yet the unlit neon clock remained.

As we drove north, I tried to rewrite the ending to my story, in my head. No amount of imagination could change my reality. Jimmy and I sat around, snacking on the food mom had made for the Fourth. He borrowed a pair of my shorts, which were too tight, until his clothes were dry. Damn, they left nothing to the imagination, and my imagination was very vivid.

I went down to the basement when I heard the dryer stop. His jock and gym shorts were toasty warm. I inhaled the jock one last time before I brought it up the living room. He dressed quickly, but I still caught a glimpse of his dick and balls.

Jimmy gave me a look I hadn't seen before. I was certain he was going to cry. "Gonna be hard to make it the rest of the summer without ya, bud. Not sure I'll ever find another friend like you." He rushed towards me and hugged me. I should have been happy with that, but I leaned down and kissed him.

Tongue and all.

He let go of our hug, and pushed me away.

"Oh, fuck, oh damn. Sorry, Jimmy, I shouldn't have done that."

"I should be going. We'll have to do the water show some other time." He was frantic to leave. I stumbled about, then remembered something my mom had made for him. It was a log cabin patterned quilt, done in shades of blue, his favorite color. She intended it as a graduation gift for Jimmy, but between making an orange one for me, and a blue one for Jimmy, she had just finished his.

He grabbed it and tore out of there. A life time of friendship, erased with one kiss.

Since then I moved to the Twin Cities, for school first, then my career, if you want to call it that. With each year, and each boyfriend, I grew, literally and figuratively. With maturity, I got furrier and stronger. I also became more comfortable with my sexuality.

Being a Halverson in Pequadna was very much a case of a big fish in a small pond, or small lake that resembled a par-5 dog-legged golf hole. Being a Halverson in the Twin Cities meant I was a nobody. Yet, somehow, I started to meet somebodies. I fucked my way through any number of grandsons of founders of Minnesota Fortune 500 companies. I poked the Doughboy's grandson. I was on Target with a family member of that retailer. And if Betty Crocker had a son, I tasted his cakes.

I had a steady stream of lovers, and would change jobs just as often. Then one of the elite that I was playing with, realized that I was a much better chef, than businessman. He fronted the money for a restaurant. We had a good run, the restaurant and my silent partner. He even came home with me five years ago for our graduating class twentieth reunion.

We were quite the couple. My high school friends really liked Dale, so did I. That was the problem, I liked Dale. Hell, I liked all of the men I hooked up with, but loved only one. Jimmy was a no-show at our twentieth, and a no show at every Fourth of July after 1974. He lived only minutes from town. I heard from friends that he moved to the other side of the lake after he sold his parents farm.

Yet, I lived about three hours away, and made it back home every year except one, and that was last year. 1998. The restaurant went under, and so did our relationship. I went to the restaurant on June 30th discovering I was locked out. At home, I found a similar situation. Dale worked quickly, freezing our bank account.

A friend took me in while I figured things out. I had given up so much for our restaurant, a restaurant I thought was successful, only to be blindsided. I found myself without a home, or job, and I suddenly had the whiff of roadkill to all my rich friends.

Oddly it was a friend from Pequadna who bailed me out so to speak. Randy was a younger friend. He would sometimes be a Third Musketeer, he was almost as close as Jimmy and I were. He had a quirky mind, remembering everything we talked about. A few years after he graduated from college, he told us that he was working on a computer program based off one of our discussions. He promised us a share.

A few years later, on the Fourth, he told me his company was taking off and my share was waiting. I joked that I didn't need anything, but I might need his help down the road. Over the years a series of letters would arrive, detailing my share in his company. I never paid attention to the details, and just signed on the line, then mailed them back. It was the same way I operated with Dale and everyone else I trusted.

With Dale, the trust was mislaid. He closed the restaurant, changed the lock on our condo, and didn't even pay the help. I couldn't go back to Pequadna as a total failure, so I hunkered down in my friend's place, until Randy got a hold of me. I told him of my un-paid employees, and he reminded me of my share. I had money deposited into my bank account within 48 hours, and I paid them all personally.

Randy also did some cyber sleuthing, and realized that Dale had syphoned profits from the restaurant, to finance an online business that soon failed. My signatures were all over the important documents, so I had no recourse. I worked to get jobs for my employees, but found it hard to get a similar job for myself. I finally found employment at a chain restaurant, wasting my talent for a paycheck.

So, when I woke this morning, I finally said fuck it, and called in sick. I grabbed my toiletry bag, and filled my duffle bag with enough clothes for a few days. I pulled on my go-to summer outfit, hiking shorts, sandals, a belt, and with the last bit of vanity, a t-shirt with my likeness on it.

I suppose some history is required. The illustrations first appeared in the fall of '93. There was a story in a bear magazine. The story was run of the mill, guy discovers fur, guy falls in love, blah, blah, blah. The illustration that went with it, was anything but run of the mill. There was detail that enriched the standard illustration of fur, balls and dick. Dale noticed it first. "He's got your eyes, and dimples."

I was going to ask which set of dimples, but it was a full frontal. "Damn, that's your dick too," Dale added.

Soon, I couldn't be anywhere in the Bear world without hearing, "Hey, aren't you?"

"I never posed for it," was my standard answer.

I was never one of the B, C or D-List gays, much less an A-List gay, but I suddenly became an A-List bear. I'd see my face on t-shirts, posters, magazines etc. I'd even get asked for autographs at the bar, or at Bear events. I contacted the magazine editor, wondering about the origin of the illustrations. I got an email back that basically told me they wouldn't share the information. "There's a reason his alias is A. Non," was the response.

I was flattered, even if I wasn't getting money from it. Doors opened for me, because of the illustrations. As the years flew by, and I changed, the character changed. My hair was getting whiter, so was his. My glasses were updated, his too. Clothes I wore to bear events, appeared in the illustrations. I had my personal talented stalker.

My A-List status changed with the closure of the restaurant. I couldn't afford to attend Bear events, so I was relegated to the Meh-List.

Frankly, that was a relief. Robbed of the trappings of money, I started over, concentrating on the people who mattered to me. Yet somehow, I worried that my highly public failure would color what would greet me at home in Pequadna. I discovered long ago that 15% of the people in Pequadna loved me unconditionally, 5% wanted to see me fail, and 80% had no opinion at all. Why was I worried about the 5%?

The faded red barn, 10 miles south of town reminded me I would soon find out. The road to the Pequadna flowage, meant I was even closer. The flat lands were ending, and suddenly I thought, "It is hilly."

I followed Patrolman Leonardo up the town hill, then drove past him when he turned on Stewart Street. I took a chance that I could park near my old homestead, but it was already too crowded. I drove instead to the home of the last Halverson holdout.

You see, since 1974, most of the Halversons had moved out of town to lake homes, retired, or were permanently retired from life. The number of Halversons still in the phone book was half what it was in 1974. Most of my generation had moved away.

I parked my car near the circular drive at H.C. Halverson's place. There was a dozen or so vehicles, some I recognized. The parade was scheduled to start in ten minutes, so I walked the five blocks downtown. I climbed onto Halverson Hill via the back way, then waited for my cousins to notice my arrival.

Maria was the first. "Frack," she yelled when she turned around. "We missed you last year."

The years were erased as my cousins hugged me. They were technically my second cousins, but closer to me than most of my first cousins. "Where's Dale?" Crystal asked.

I could see Maria frantically shushing Crystal. "Ixnay on the Aleday," she said.

"Oh, it's okay, Dale is history. Ancient history," I said.

"Good, I never liked him," Crystal said. "I got the feeling you didn't either."

"I liked him, that was the problem. I only liked him. Hard to build a relationship on like."

We caught up while the kiddie parade started. I saw classmates, and got the rundown, but I didn't see Jimmy. A classmate asked about him, and I said, "I haven't seen him since 1974, he never comes to town on the Fourth, does he?"

"He was here last year, and looking for you."

I scanned the crowd as the main parade started. It seemed that everyone was intent on the floats, classic cars, horses and band. About ten minutes in, I caught a glimpse of some eye candy. His shoulders were broad. The tank top he wore, allowed the abundant fur on his shoulders to be seen. His closely cropped hair glittered in the early morning sun.

There is something about seeing a well-muscled man from the back, which pleases me immeasurably. The tank top hugged his body, accentuating his love handles, and muscular back. The coaches' shorts, a remnant from the 70's, made his ass look mouth-watering. His thick thighs were covered in wiry fur.

I felt wrong, perving on this anonymous man while chatting with my cousins. Then he turned and smiled at me. My jaw dropped.

"Hey Halverson. Fancy meeting you here."

"Nice shirt by the way."

"Jimmy!" I shouted, when I finally found my breath. "Damn great seeing you."

He jumped the retaining wall, took a few steps, then picked me up in a bear hug. "It's been too long," he whispered as he hugged me. "Too long."

"Too long," I agreed, holding the hug for a second longer.

We made small talk while the parade continued. It wasn't the standard Fourth update about jobs, money, kids and grandkids. That wasn't us. I asked if he still drew, he nodded. When he asked if I still wrote, I nodded too.

Full disclosure. The Bear story that featured the A. Non, Bear illustration. I wrote that. Yeah, I will admit it was run of the mill, but it inspired many a load, or so my fans tell me.

So, I didn't tell him that I wrote filth. I didn't tell him that he inspired every single filthy, dirty word I wrote. I just nodded.

We stayed for the street games, watching the races and the egg toss. I broke away when I saw Patrolman Leonardo. "Who's the hunk you've been talking with?" he whispered as I bought him his beer.

"My best friend from Pequadna High School," I said truthfully.

"He's fucking hot, buddy. I hope you two hook up."

"Probably not, I think I screwed up any possible relationship years ago."

"I dunno, I saw how he looked at you."

I heard his voice again. "Hey Halverson, they're starting the greased pole climb. Think I've still got it? Lunch is on me if I do."

I looked up from where I was standing with the Patrolman. "I'd bet you've still got it," I said. "C'mon, Leo, you've gotta see this."

We walked to the town park, there was already a line of guys, and a few gals, waiting to test their luck. Some were obviously the sons of classmates that had tried their hands at the challenge years earlier. You could see their fathers tell them the sand secret.

Jimmy got in line behind a shorter young woman. When it was her turn, she took off her shirt and shorts, revealing a bikini. She made quick work of the bottom half of the pole, amassing a good amount of bills, before she slid down. "Beat that," she said.

Jimmy didn't take her challenge, and instead looked at the young man that was behind him in line. Jimmy winked at me, and took off his shirt, threw it my way, and then started his climb. I wasn't a fool, so I found myself off to the same angle I had the previous time. "C'mon," I whispered to the Patrolman. "You'll owe me."

Leonardo stood by me as Jimmy shimmied up the pole. His tanned muscles strained to hold the extra weight that twenty-five years had added to his sexy body. He'd hug the pole, grab a bill, and clench it in his teeth before he'd climb for another. He passed a few attainable bills, before grabbing the two twenty dollar bills at the top.

He slowly slid down the pole. I didn't get to see a dick flash this time, but I was more than primed by the sight of this beautiful man, all greasy, sweaty, straining, and shining in the midday sun. When he got about four feet from touching the ground, one by one he plastered the bills back onto the pole until he no longer had any in his mouth.

He then pushed himself away from the pole and fell to the ground. He tapped the kid behind him in line. "You're up next, buddy. Make me proud."

He didn't stay to watch the kid. We were about a block away when Jimmy finally looked at me. "His family has had some bad luck recently. He almost reached the top last year. He can use the money."

As if I didn't have a thing for Jimmy already.

"Where are you headed, Halverson? My truck's over here."

"I'm parked up by H.C.'s house."

"Gimmie a second to get these greasy shorts off, and I can drop you off there. And if you want, you can follow me out to the cabin, see what I've done with the place."

Jimmy's truck was parked by some large pines. He opened the passenger door, and grabbed a pair of jean shorts. I was the last screen he needed, so he pulled off his coaches' shorts and changed. It didn't take him long to strip to his jock, and pull on the other pair of shorts. Luckily it was long enough for me to get a good hard glimpse of his furry ass.

He threw the shorts behind the seat of his truck then walked around to the driver's side. I climbed in. His truck smelled of sawdust, hay, grease, and Jimmy. The bench seat was hot on my ass. I looked for the power windows, but smiled when I saw the hand cranks.

"Can't get rid of it. It just reminds me of the farm. My simpler days, you know."

We were only two blocks from H.C.'s place, so we were there in seconds. I motioned to my car, he pulled in behind me. I got out, and was ready to follow him, when a four-wheeler pulled up to Jimmy's truck. "Hey Chimp. I heard what you did down there. Good on ya buddy."

"Shit, news travels fast in this godforsaken town," Jimmy said. "By the way, didja see who's here. Chimp and Z are back together again." He said, nodding up to me.

"It's `bout time. Friends shouldn't stay mad at each other this long."

"No, they shouldn't." In my rear-view mirror, I saw Jimmy wink. "Well, H.C., I gotta get going. I'm gonna show Z the place, maybe take him out on the lake. Bring the pontoon by."

"Looks like you need a shower first. You and that damn brillo pad fur you got buddy. It's gonna be impossible to come clean." H.C. leaned over, slammed his hand on the door of Jimmy's truck and then drove by me, waving as he went.

Jimmy pulled up by me. "He's something, isn't he? C'mon, follow me. The sooner I get clean, the sooner we can have some fun. Give you the Fourth of July you always want."

I had to smile as I followed Jimmy. H.C. waved at me. That was tantamount to his seal of approval. Few people measured up to H.C., Jimmy obviously was one, but a wave, and words of encouragement about our friendship, put me in the same category as Jimmy.

Jimmy's faded green pick-up was easy to follow. He waited until a line of cars passed by on the highway, then he turned towards the north. I knew generally where he lived, but with some lake roads, you need specific instructions, or you'd be off by miles. We drove to the county-line road, past the Ojibway burial mounds, and then started to climb one of the large hills. We took another right, and went on a roller coaster ride on the dirt roads. My car was unaccustomed to the gravel, but I was right on his tailgate.

One more right, and we were heading down towards the lake. The rolling farmland gave way to unending forests. He slowed his truck and signaled a turn by a sign that said, "Wit's End." Not highly original, but very much Jimmy's sense of humor.

The road was very narrow, with trees creating a canopy as we drove to the lake. Suddenly the trees stopped, and I saw his small cabin, situated on its own point. He pulled the truck next to an out building, and I pulled onto the grass beside it.

"Here it is, such as it is."

There was about four-hundred feet of lake shore on one side, and 200 on the other. Tall reeds created a shelter to the west, and on the south shore, was a slip of sandy beach. There was a clothesline with a familiar blue quilt, waving in the breeze. "Looks like heaven," was all I could say.

"I'm happiest, here. C'mon, let me show you the place." He took the lock off the cabin door. The cabin was simple. It had a large living and dining space in front, a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom in the back, and a loft bedroom above that. There was a large stone fireplace in front with a slate hearth.

It looked like it had survived intact from when it was built in the late 40's. The one modern touch was his computer station and art studio that took up most of the dining area.

I looked around as Jimmy grabbed his shampoo and soap. There were sketches on every wall. Some I recognized from High School days. "C'mon, you gotta see the shower, it's solar powered."

We walked outside as he took off his clothes. "The great thing about this place is even though it's on a point, it's sheltered." The lack of tan-line told me that Jimmy took advantage of that feature. On the side of the house, was a shower. Two sides of it were screened off by wooden slats that matched the cabin. The other side was open.

"Pull up a chair. Tell me, how's life been?"

He started the shower, sudsing up his fur. We made small talk. I couldn't stay on any topic while watching him shower. I was soon daydreaming again when I heard it.

"Hey Halverson. Didja hear me?"

"What?" I said, snapping out of it.

"I said I can't seem to get rid of this grease."

From our quick tour of the small kitchen, I knew the solution. I ran inside, grabbed the dish detergent, then ran out and handed it to him.

"I might need some help," he said. "There's room."

My shirt was already partially wet and my shorts were on the way. The great thing about my summer wardrobe, ease of egress. Bear T-shirt, gone. Hiking shorts, history. Sandals, kicked off. Underwear, what underwear?

"Damn, some things get better with age." The exact words I was about to say, were coming from Jimmy's mouth. "Fuck, why did I run?"

"I've got you cornered, you won't be able to this time." I pushed Jimmy up against the west screen of the outdoor shower, and started to kiss him. He dropped the detergent. The irony made me chuckle. I had written dozens of porn stories, and no character ever, dropped the soap. Never.

"Let me get that," I said. I dropped to my knees, and reached for the plastic bottle while I sucked his growing dick into my mouth. I took my time, finding that bottle. He was fully hard when I stood, soap in hand. "Time to get rid of the grease," I said.

I stood and looked down at him while I poured the detergent directly on his grease matted chest. "So damn beautiful my friend. I hope you've been sharing this with someone."

"I get to Duluth once in a blue moon. I find some playmates at the downtown sauna. But most of the time around here, I'm deprived." His hazel eyes sparked when he spoke. I fell deeper.

I sudsed, and rinsed his chest and gut repeatedly, then put my attention on his strong arms that hugged the greased pole. Jimmy was the guy I had compared every lover to. Over the years I had decided that my memory of him, probably put his reality in the shade. This wasn't the case, however.

I was massaging biceps that had long ago become clean, just so I could feel his body. My smile was slight. "Damn those dimples. They're burned into my mind. I hope I've done justice to them."

I glanced at him, cocked my head questioningly. "What?" was all I could say.

"Your eyes too. You're my muse, Halverson."

"Whatever," I said, and went down to my haunches. His thick, muscular thighs and calves were still matted with grease. I started to blow him while I washed his legs.

"Give me some of that," he said. I handed him the bottle of detergent. He soaped up his hands and when they were clean, he held my head. It wasn't a skull fuck, but gentle, loving.

When his legs were clean, I stood and gently washed him, getting the last of the grease, from the side of his face that had clung to the greased pole. He noticed that I had gotten some grease on my face while we were kissing, so he performed the same task for me. "We're done," he said, and started to reach for the handles.

"Something still needs to be cleaned," I said. I spun him, then went to my knees. I inhaled his furry ass. Every time I rimmed a man, this was the ass I wanted. I pushed him forward. He leaned on the screen and I started to root around with my tongue. I felt something metallic. "What the?"

There, on his taint, was a piercing.

"Like that? I'm depraved, on account I'm deprived."

"West Side Story," I said remembering the line a juvenile delinquent sang to Officer Krupke. I laughed, and went back to rimming him.

"My editor and I got pierced together in Chicago this Memorial Day. I told him I was taking chances this year."

"Editor? What the?"

The cold water hit us. He turned it off quickly, then scrambled out of the shower. I followed him to the clothesline where he tore the quilt from it and laid it on the lawn. He snapped it once with his wrists, to straighten it out, then pulled me on top of him.

"I've read the stories. I know they're yours."

"What the?"

"You need this, and want this as much as I do."

"What the?"

"Halverson, you're I.I Hill, I'm A. Non. I've been illustrating your stories since they first got published. I didn't want the limelight, I just wanted to get my artwork out there."

Jimmy kissed me, then rolled me over so he was on top. "I didn't know it was you, until our editor sent me a faxed update with corrections from you. The computer files were anonymous, but I'd recognize that chicken scratch anywhere."

"I asked our editor about you. I had been hiding from you for years, afraid of how I'd respond if you ever kissed me again. I realized from your stories, that you were waiting for me. I just knew it. But the editor told me you had a successful, rich, husband."

"He told me you asked about me, I told him I couldn't let you know who I was. I wasn't ready, Halverson."

"I am," I said.

"Are you?" Jimmy asked. He gave me his quizzical look. He lifted my legs and nudged his thick dick head against my ass. It didn't budge.

"Just a minute," I said. I ran to my car, and grabbed my toiletry bag from the rear window ledge. I opened it and hauled out the bottle of lube. It was warmed in the summer sun. I returned to the quilt. Jimmy was laying there, his dick pointing skyward. "Time for my own greased pole climb," I leered.

I opened the lube and allowed a stream of sun-warmed lube to fall to his dick. "The way I see it, Jimmy, my hairy butt is gonna shimmy all over that pole and allow you to claim the prize."

"Oh, hell ya, Halverson." He slicked his dick with the lube and waited for me. I straddled his midsection and lowered my ass onto his pole. I pulsed my ass when his pole entered me, and continued to pulse it as I sat down on him.

"My butt fur will draw the cum right outta you buddy." I looked right in his eyes when I said that. If he liked my dimples and the sparkle of my eyes, I was going to capitalize on that.

"Those fucking dimples. I didn't do them justice. They are even sexier than I remember."

In my mind, I was going to tease him with my ass, let my butt-fur caress his dick, and fuck him into the next county. I didn't take into consideration how deprived, depraved and athletic he was. He twisted me around so I was on my back, and ass in the air, and he jackhammered into me. My butt muscles were convulsing as this giant of a man, 7 inches shorter than me, made love to me.

For all the fucking, for all the A-List, Eh-List and Meh-List Bears I had played with, someone was finally making love to me. It was the Hallelujah Chorus, meets Beethoven's Ninth, and when he finally unloaded in my ass, it was the final chord from "A Day in the Life" from Sgt. Pepper. I responded with a cannon shot from the 1812 overture, which landed on his chest and gut.

He collapsed on top of me. My Jimmy to his Halverson, My Frick to his Frack, My A. Non, to his I.I. Hill. As his breathing slowed, I heard boats on the lake, ducks flying overhead and a loon in the distance. A pontoon slowed down as it drove close to shore. I could pick out H.C.'s distinctive voice. "He's here, I just don't see any sign of life We'll catch up with him later."

"He knows, doesn't he?" I said.

"He approves too," Jimmy said.

"Welcome to the family, such as it is."

Jimmy looked at me and smiled his mischievous smile, then looked at my load on his chest. "I told you lunch would be on me. Eat up buddy."

********************

*Troglodyte (Cave Man) by The Jimmy Castor Bunch

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This is a Fourth of July love letter to my hometown. The name of the town has been changed to protect the innocent, not so innocent, and the obviously guilty. It may or may not connect with my Snowplow series to be found here https://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/adult-friends/snowplow/

It also may or may not be expanded on later. In the meantime check out my other stories at https://www.nifty.org/nifty/authors.html#bixmeister

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