Mike and Danny: The Snowstorm
by Rock Lane Cooper

This is a work of homoerotic fiction. If you are offended by such material or if you are not allowed access to it under the laws where you live, please exit now. This work is copyrighted by the author and may not be copied or distributed in any form without the written permission of the author, who may be contacted at: rocklanecooper@yahoo.com

Chapter 5


It took Kirk maybe three days to fit in with the work crew. They accepted him as Rich's pal, and since pretty much all the guys liked their boy Rich—too young to buy a drink at the local bars where they hung out—they didn't have to feel sorry for him anymore getting left on his own while they had their fun after work.

Gary took to Kirk first. He was there in the diner in Ogallala at the same table with Rich when Kirk walked in. And for a while, they all three happily shared a motel room. It was a short while. Gary didn't take long to start bringing home girls and wanting the room for himself.

And Rich and Kirk had to sneak off to wherever they could find some cover to get their hands into each other's jeans again after weeks that seemed like months apart. One night, after they'd unloaded the trucks at a new job site, a car dealership on the highway west of Sidney, Gary sacked out on his bed and Rich and Kirk took a swim in the motel pool in their underwear.

While they had the pool to themselves, they floated on air mattresses. Rich was looking up into the summer evening sky, saying he could see bats fluttering overhead. Kirk was lying face down, hands and toes dangling in the water, feeling horny, his wet jockeys sucking cool and tight across his butt and his dick hard under him.

He'd discovered that his cock was slipping in between the ribs of the plastic mattress, and he carefully lowered the front of his shorts, hanging up his hard-on for a minute in the elastic waistband. Then with it slipped under his balls, he pressed himself down even further into the crack until it fit snug around his dick.

"Hey, Rich," he said quietly, getting Rich to look over at him. And he pumped his hips and rolled his eyes, like he was giving the mattress a slow and easy fuck.

Rich grinned. "You'd stick your dick through a knothole in a wood fence to see what it was like." And when he tried to roll over and try it himself, he starting rocking from side to side and fell off with a splash.

When he came up, Kirk was laughing, and Rich swam up to him and tipped him over so they were both in the water. Then Rich took a big gulp of air and dived down, grabbing Kirk's jockeys and pulling on them until they were around his ankles.

Together now, wrestling under the water, Rich kept tugging on Kirk's shorts. As Kirk could feel them slipping off—first one foot and then the other—he caught his fingers in the fly of Rich's jockeys and pulled hard until he felt them ripping.

In the swirls of air bubbles, the early evening light filtering down from above, he could see Rich's balls falling free. Another jerk between Rich's kicking legs and the whole front tore open, letting his dick spring out, looking fat and lazy.

Kirk kicked off the bottom so he could get up for some air. When he surfaced, Rich had spun away from him but was turning back, sputtering, "Sonofabitch."

In one hand, he held up Kirk's dripping shorts, and with a swing of his arm threw them over the pool fence, where they hung for a moment on the branches of a cedar tree and then fell into the shadows under them.

Kirk felt the cool water they'd stirred up moving across the bare skin of his butt and laughed that he was naked and couldn't do anything about it. He dog-paddled in slow circles, enjoying the nodding tug of his hard-on between his legs.

"Shit, somebody's coming," Rich said, looking out across the parking lot.

"No, they're not," Kirk said, spluttering as a wave splashed into his mouth. He could tell when Rich was fooling.

Kirk swam over to the diving board and grabbed the end of it with both hands, lifting himself and trying to do chin-ups. A quick glance through the pool fence, and he could see that he was right. The only sign of life was a guy in a white shirt and suit pants taking a suitcase out of the trunk of a Buick over toward the front office.

Then he lifted both legs, hooking his heels on either edge of the board, his dick slapping down onto his stomach, and he hung there dripping.

"Hey, monkey," Rich said, swimming up beside him and stroking Kirk's back with one hand, then patting his wet butt and slipping his fingers tightly around his balls until Kirk started to squirm.

"Don't squeeze 'em," he howled. "Rub 'em."

Rich laughed and squeezed harder until Kirk dropped back into the water, waves splashing against the side of the pool. And then they were wrestling again, grabbing at each other's nuts, and each trying to hold the other under until finally both of them were gasping for air and hanging onto the edge of the pool at the deep end.

Shadows were deepening under the cedar trees, and lights were coming on around the motel. They watched as a pale moon came up over a grain elevator by the railroad tracks.

"Ever had a blowjob under water?" Rich said, out of the blue.

"Nah," Kirk said, "but it sounds like fun."

"Go hang onto the end of the diving board again," Rich said, "and see what happens."

"Yeah, you're gonna pull some shit. I know it."

"No, I'm not," Rich insisted. "Go on."

Kirk splashed over to the board, reaching up with one arm to grab the edge and then hung there with both hands. The evening air was like a sharp smack against his skin, and he could feel it down to his nipples, the rest of him numbly warm under the surface of the water.

Rich swam over to him, took several deep breaths, and then sank into the water. Kirk could feel Rich's hands stroke along his thighs and then his fingers closing around his dick, still mostly hard and getting harder.

Looking down, he could see Rich's naked body, looking strangely flattened in the water, shreds of his jockeys floating out around him, the top of his head just under the surface.

Then, as he felt Rich's mouth pressing down over his dick, he closed his eyes, sighing, "Ahhhh." He felt himself go almost limp like a wet towel on a rack, waves under the skin rippling up over his belly and down the inside of his thighs, and he was having to grip the end of the board so he wouldn't let go.

Rich came up for air. "How's that?" he wanted to know.

"Don't stop," Kirk said, his eyes still closed.

"I gotta breathe sometime," Rich said, laughing and holding Kirk's cock in one hand as he gulped in more air. Then he was down again, sucking Kirk back into his mouth, his hands pressed against Kirk's naked hips.

Kirk lifted his heels in the water, arching his body, flexing and relaxing his arms in a slow rhythm, the surface of the water rising and falling against his chest.

Rich came up for air again, this time without a word, breathed deeply, and went down again. His hands now reaching around to Kirk's butt, pulling him gently forward, rocking him so his dick was slipping in and out of Rich's warm, smooth mouth, gliding along the groove of his tongue.

For a moment Kirk thought of the groove between the inflated ridges of the air mattress. And he smiled to himself how this had all started with that.

The prickling buzz of urgency was rising up from his balls and spreading in his crotch, moving outward in all directions. He squeezed his eyes shut harder, taking quick breaths of his own in time with each rocking movement of his body, like a porch swing in an afternoon breeze.

Then when he was just at the brink, Rich came up for more air. Still not a word. And the next time he went down, Kirk pulled his knees up and wrapped his legs around Rich's ears, twisting one way and another, until he couldn't hold back even if he wanted to.

He hung for a moment, not moving, and then let go, falling back into the water, aware only of the bursts of his cum shooting along the length of his cock and disappearing in a flood.

His penis slipped out of Rich's mouth, and it was still stiff and making little contractions as he floated backward, eyes still closed, legs kicking limply and then just stopping as he let himself drift in the pool.

When he finally opened his eyes, he was in the shallow end, and Rich was beside him, his hair wet and flat across his forehead, drops of water hanging from his nose and his ears.

"You about drowned me," Rich said, grinning.

"Fuck, I loved that," Kirk said. He'd almost said, "I love you," but caught himself before the words got away from him. "I suppose you want me to do that to you now," he said.

Rich just grinned and nodded gleefully.

"And here I thought porpoises only lived in the ocean," someone said. And when they both turned to look, they saw Gary standing on the other side of the fence, leaning there like he'd been watching them for a while.

Kirk sat in the water until his butt hit the bottom and waited for Gary to make some remark about what the two of them were doing, but he just had his usual grin and told them he was heading out for the bars and tossed the room key out to them. It sank in the water and Rich dived for it.

"Something happen to your shorts?" Gary said to Kirk before he left.

"Over under the trees," Kirk said, pointing to the other side of the pool.

"Good place for 'em," Gary said. Gary didn't wear underwear—or socks. Which Kirk knew from watching him get dressed in the morning and undressed at night.

He'd pull off his jeans, standing any old way in the room, like he couldn't care less, and his dick would fall out, and his balls drop down, slipping for a second under his shirt tail as he bent over to get his feet out of the jeans, and then hanging out again swinging as he took off his shirt, his chest and stomach hairy right down to the bush of dark hair around his privates.

It was an expanse of hair that spread between his legs and into his butt crack, which Kirk got to see sometimes when Gary happened to face the other way when he pushed down his jeans. It was almost like he was showing off, and he had plenty to show, a long, fat dick and a full sac slung low against his thighs, each ball exactly side by side.

Gary headed off across the parking lot to his car, a dusty Nash Rambler.

"Bring us some towels," Kirk called out to him.

"You didn't bring any towels out with you?" Gary said, turning to them and still walking, backward. A big grin slid across his face.

"No," Kirk said, pleading.

"Shoulda thought of that before," Gary said and kept on going.

He was wearing a white tee shirt that showed off the bulk of his biceps, and a pair of clean levis. He'd pulled on a pair of black motorcycle boots that he kept real polished, his jeans tucked into them when he went out at night, so he looked a little tough in case he needed to.

He didn't look for fights, but there was always somebody taking exception to him. Being from out of town and usually making moves on any girl who seemed available, he sometimes got into it with the local boys.

Kirk liked it that he and Rich shared the same room with Gary. And Gary didn't seem to mind. They split the cost three ways, which left him with more money for beer and gas. And there were also two ex-wives and their kids he was always complaining about having to support.

Gary was old, in his thirties, but he didn't act much older than a teenager, and whenever they were together, he was like a big brother to them. He looked out for them at work, reminding them to wear their hard hats, making sure they knew the ropes, and understood what the foreman wanted and who to trust among the other men on the crew.

He liked to come up between them and put his arms around their shoulders, or pat them on the butt, telling the other men they were his boys. Kirk got the idea that he was telling them not to mess with him and Rich. And there were a couple who might have.

Kirk loved the feel of that strong arm around him, and the pressure of his body against him, and he often got next to Gary so Gary could just hug him like that whenever he had the impulse. Which happened now and then.

Another thing he liked about Gary was that he got a kick out of playing squirrel, letting Kirk grab the front of his jeans and then chasing him down to wrestle him to the ground and grab him back, holding him tight, working his fingers around his fly until he had a good grip on his balls and not letting go.

Kirk would already be howling with laughter, doubled over and kicking his feet, Gary's fist between his legs sending surging waves through his crotch, his dick going stiff and more than a couple times shooting his shorts full of cum.

Gary didn't seem to notice, and if he did, he didn't seem to care. Kirk would lie there panting afterwards, promising to get Gary back.

Watching him walk away now over the parking lot, Kirk admired his broad shoulders and the loose-jointed way he walked in his low-slung jeans, his boot heels scuffing in the gravel.

He thought now, as he often did, how he'd like to hug Gary sometime from behind and slip his fingers under his belt and into his jeans, and just hold his dick. He imagined how it would fill his hand, growing fuller under his touch, maybe getting hard. And he wanted to stroke it, to see if he could make Gary cum, too.

If Kirk ever thought about it, he'd admit he had some kind of crush on Gary. It didn't make him like Rich any less. It just felt good having an older guy care about him. Someone who wasn't always on his ass about stuff, like his uncle Mike.

And someone who was more easy-going than Mike's friend, Danny. Danny was OK but, cripe, he had his head in a book half the time and, when it came down to it, could get just as cranky as Mike.

But Gary was the best. He enjoyed life and just didn't give a shit. "No sweat," he was always saying. "No sweat."

If they had to run back to the motel room dripping wet and naked, no sweat.

After Gary got into his car, they stood in the water watching him drive off, the brake lights popping on bright as he hit the highway and then the exhaust rumbling as he floored it and sped away.

Then Kirk turned to Rich, grabbing him between the legs and pulled on the shreds of his underpants until he had them off and pitched over the fence and into the trees.

"Now we're even," he said.

"No we're not," Rich said, splashing him with a spray of water. "You owe me one."

"Yeah, yeah," Kirk said grinning. "I was gettin' around to that." And he sidled Rich back into a corner of the shallow end, where Rich could sit with his legs spread wide. After a deep breath Kirk swallowed his dick, burying his nose in his wet curly pubic hair.

Rich's dick was cool, but quickly warming and getting hard in Kirk's mouth. He was close enough to the surface that Kirk didn't have to keep stopping to come up for air.

As usual when they traded blowjobs, Rich stroked his hair and the back of his neck, and Kirk cupped his hand around Rich's balls, which always seemed like the most loving part of him.

With Rich's cock against the back of his throat, he would cuddle them to his chin. Always, with the touch of them, there arose his tenderest feelings for Rich. And other times, having tender feelings for Rich, he'd want to reach over and touch his balls.

He wondered if this is what love felt like. And what a funny thought that was. Getting all gooey over of a guy's testicles.

A flash of headlights swung over them and into the trees, and Rich said, "Somebody just pulled in." Kirk turned and looked over toward the motel office. A guy in a cowboy hat was stepping down from a pickup and going inside. He left the lights on, shining across Rich's face and shoulders.

But Kirk, lower down, was in the shadows, and he reached again for Rich's cock, which was sticking straight up out of the water. "No sweat," he said, and opened his mouth once more over Rich's hard-on.

"What if there's someone else in that truck watching?" Rich said.

Kirk pulled Rich's cock from his mouth. "Let 'em wonder," he said, and stuffed his cock back in again. It had lost a bit of size, but working with fingers and tongue, he quickly found himself tasting Rich's salty precum.

"Whoa, Nelly," Rich said, his head rolling back. He was coming around again. Fast. His knees squeezed tight against Kirk and then kicked out straight, sending a wash of water out across the pool.

Then with a quick hard intake of breath, he curled up around Kirk, and Kirk's head was buried for a moment against Rich's belly, legs wrapped around his waist, arms hugging his shoulders. And as his mouth filled with spasms of Rich's creamy cum, he could feel Rich's breath against the back of his neck and his voice softly moaning like he might be crying.

They slid together now into the deeper water and held each other for a long time. Cool naked skin against cool naked skin.

There was the sound of the screen door banging at the office, the truck door opening and then slamming shut, the engine picking up rpms, and then the lights swung away, putting them into deeper darkness. Kirk looked into Rich's face, now all in shadow, and he pressed his body against him, chest to chest, cock shoved against cock.

After waiting until it was a little darker, they crawled out of the pool and scurried to the motel room. Kirk fumbled with the room key as they huddled together at the door. He could feel Rich pushing against his bare backside, shivering.

When they burst into the room, all the lights were on, and the bathroom door was partway open, the air still damp from Gary's shower and smelling of his Old Spice. There were two towels, one on the floor in a little semi-circle where he'd let it drop from his hips as he got dressed for the evening, the other across the foot of the bed. Kirk grabbed one; Rich grabbed the other.

After they'd dried themselves, they jumped into the bed they shared and pulled the sheet and bedspread over them, hugging each other until they got warm, which didn't take long, and then kicking off the covers again until they were both lying there naked.

Gary's work clothes were piled on the floor with his work boots. For the heck of it, Kirk got up, reached for Gary's levis and put them on. They were big on him and long, the cuffs frayed, one knee worn through, and one side of the fly faded where Gary's cock hung. The wide leather belt and its big buckle fell loose and stiff around his hips.

Then he stepped into Gary's boots, standing with his thumbs in the front pockets, just like Gary, only tugging down until his pubic hair showed over the waistband. Then he got a Gary grin on his face and said to Rich, "No sweat."

Except this wasn't exactly true. It had been a hot day working under a 20-foot ceiling, and the jeans were still wet with Gary's sweat across the waist in back and in the crotch.

He stooped down to pick up Gary's shirt and put it on. The sleeves had been torn off, and there was lots of room inside for Kirk's flat chest and narrow shoulders. His arms hung at his sides, feeling long and undeveloped. He walked into the bathroom and tried to get a look at himself in the mirror.

"What do you think?" he said, coming back out, but Rich had already found a magazine and was leafing through it.

"You might pass for a scarecrow," he said, without looking up.

Kirk hiked up the jeans so his balls were pressed down into the crotch, and he reached in to push his cock into the faded spot by the fly. Then he climbed onto Gary's bed to lie for a while with his hands behind his head, watching the ceiling fan. And as his body relaxed from the day's work of carrying tile and climbing scaffolding, he drifted off to sleep.

Which is how Gary found him later that night when he got back from the bars.

He woke up as Gary was shaking him. "Hey, Tiger," he was saying. "You can wear my clothes, but get your ass outta my bed."

When the foreman quit, Gary got promoted to his job, and after their next paycheck, he told Kirk and Rich to get their own room. He'd be living alone from now on. So they did.

The summer wore on, and jobs took them from Alliance to Scottsbluff and into Wyoming. Gary was still their best buddy on the crew, and traveling from one job to another, they always got to go along in his Rambler, Kirk usually riding in the front seat even though they'd flip a coin to see who'd get it.

A weekend came in August, and Gary wanted to take them to the state fair where there was supposed to be a big carnival and a rodeo. Saturday morning dawned, the sun breaking over a low bare ridge in the east, and only Kirk went with Gary because Rich had been sick all night and was pretty wobbly on his legs.

Sitting on the edge of Rich's bed, Gary checked his forehead for fever, took a good look at him, and said he was the wrong color to be going anywhere. He needed to stay where he was till he felt better.

So Gary and Kirk got into the car and headed for Douglas. It was fun being alone with Gary. He would glance over at Gary's hands on the steering wheel and down at his long legs in his jeans. Gary had given himself a shave and was wearing a new red-and-white striped western shirt and a straw cowboy hat he'd bought at a store in Cody.

The rest of him was the same, curly hair out over his shirt collar, a snap or two open in front, and wearing his boots and best levis, a pair that hadn't faded yet in the crotch. He was grinning and in a good mood, telling jokes, and smoking Lucky Strikes, every now and then working a bit of tobacco to the end of his tongue and spitting it out the window.

It was a hot day, and they stuck close together, walking through the livestock barns and stopping to admire the horses. They had chilidogs at noon, tried knocking down some milk bottles with baseballs, and went to the rodeo, where they sat side by side in the bleachers.

When the rodeo queens rode by on their palominos, Gary made some remarks about bust size and which ones he wouldn't mind getting naked with.

"You talking about the girl or the horse?" Kirk said, laughing.

"The girl, wise ass," Gary said. "You can have the horse."

"I never fucked a horse," Kirk said. "Maybe you have."

"Don't get smart, or you can walk home."

"Well, have you?" Kirk said. He'd heard of such a thing.

"No, and I hope I never have to," Gary said with a straight face.

As the stands got more crowded, they moved closer together, and Gary didn't seem to mind that Kirk was pressed up next to him, their legs against each other. Being so close made Kirk's dick go hard in his jeans until it was almost aching.

Gary would lean forward with his elbows on his knees, and Kirk waited a long time, wanting to put his arm across Gary's broad back before he finally did. And then just for a minute, like they were good buddies who just happened to be friendly like this once in a while.

Under Kirk's bare arm, Gary's back was warm and hard with muscle, his shirt damp with sweat. It made Kirk's dick go even stiffer.

After the rodeo, they wandered a couple times around the noisy carnival, Gary checking out the girls, but deciding the best looking ones were all too young. "Jail bait," he said.

Finally, in the early evening, they drove from the fairgrounds until they found a tavern with more pickups than cars in the parking lot, and the sound of a country band playing loud inside. Kirk waited in the Rambler while Gary went in for a beer. "I'm feelin' kinda parched," he said, looking in the side mirror and lifting his cowboy hat to stroke back his hair. "Just a quick one for the road."

An hour or more later, he came out again. But he wasn't alone. He'd picked up a girl who he'd got half convinced he was a real cowboy. And as he opened the door to the back seat, he handed Kirk a cold six-pack and told him not to go far but to make himself scarce for a while.

So Kirk did. He slipped out the other side of the car and didn't turn to look back until he was behind a horse trailer. From there, in the glow from the neon lights over the tavern, he could see Gary and his girl settle into the back seat and then disappear.

He realized that Gary must have kept the dome light switched off, or it was broken, because it stayed dark even though he left the back door open. Kirk walked around the horse trailer to where he could see inside the car, and sticking out from the back seat was one of Gary's long legs.

Kirk squatted in the grass and decided to help himself to the beer. But they were cans without pull-tabs, and he didn't have a church key.

Suddenly the door of the tavern burst open and a man came out, followed by two others. He was a big guy in a suit and tie, from what Kirk could tell, and wearing a big Stetson. After fanning out through the parking lot, they found what they were looking for—Gary and the girl.

The man pulled Gary from the car, the front of his levis wide open and his dick swinging. There was some shouting and threats, and then the big guy took a swing at Gary before he could button up. But Gary just stepped aside and then knocked the other guy down with a hard punch to his face and another to his gut. The guy's hat flew off as he fell, and it rolled under a car.

There was wailing now as the girl scooted out of the Rambler and dropped to her knees beside the big guy, who was still on the ground like two punches from Gary were all he could take. "Rudy, honey, are you all right?" she kept saying between sobs.

The other two men took a step toward Gary, but he braced himself, ready for them, and they moved back again. "Get your buddy the fuck outta here," he told them, sounding mad as hell. And they bent down to help him onto his feet, the girl hanging on him with both arms around his neck.

Kirk went running out toward them, and as soon as Gary saw him, he told him to get in the car. Then before anyone changed their mind about keeping their distance, Gary jumped into the driver's seat and they drove off, wheels spinning in the dirt and gravel.

Kirk looked back through the rear window and saw the figures disappearing in the cloud of dust kicked up in the taillights. The back door was still swinging open and he crawled over the front seat to pull it shut.

"Sonofabitch," Gary was saying and laughing. "I didn't even get on a rubber." His fly was still open and his belt unbuckled. "You hang onto those beers, Tiger?"

"Yeah," Kirk said.

"Gimme one."

Kirk crawled back into the front seat with a beer, rummaged in the glove compartment for a can opener, and when he punched it through the top, there was a spray of foam over both of them.

Gary took the dripping beer from him and sucked down several swallows as they drove out of town. Kirk reached onto the floor in back for Gary's cowboy hat, and Gary set the can between his legs as he put it on.

"Well, I learned one thing," he said and laughed as they sped down the road. "You gotta be one tough hombre if you wanna be a cowboy."

Kirk opened another beer for himself and shouted, "Yee-haw" out the open window.

Gary took another pull on his beer. "I never saw you run so fast, Tiger," he said. "And you even hung onto our six-pack." Then he set the can into his crotch, reached over with one hand and grabbed Kirk between the legs. "Squirrel! Gotcher nuts," he laughed.

Taken by surprise, Kirk almost dropped his beer. He turned to get back at Gary, but Gary was holding him off with one strong arm, gripping the steering wheel with his other hand.

The shock of Gary's touch still warm and radiating in his jeans, Kirk kept diving at him, and they wrestled in the front seat as the car hurtled down the highway, beer spilling and splashing.

The Rambler swerved on the pavement and Gary had to put both hands on the wheel to steady it on the road. While he tried blocking Kirk with his shoulder, Kirk was already reaching under his arm and grabbing for him.

But his open hand collided with the beer can wedged tight between Gary's thighs, splashing beer out over his lap. Next thing he knew, his hand had found the buttons of Gary's open fly and his wet belly hair.

Gary had him now by the shirt collar, trying to pull him away, but Kirk's feet were braced against the door and he wasn't budging. He was trying to slide his hand in between the beer can and Gary's crotch, but it slipped instead into his open levis, and in a second was pushing through Gary's thick pubic hair and bumping against his dick.

Shoving hard into the folds of denim, he could just about touch Gary's balls, but there wasn't enough room to get his fingers around them. So he grabbed Gary's cock instead. It was warm and smooth and firm. And heavy, not like he'd imagined. In a second he had started stroking it.

"Hey!" was all Gary said, surprised.

He grabbed for a muscle in Kirk's shoulder now and pinched hard to make him let go.

Kirk fell back, laughing. "No fair," he said. "You had a beer can between your legs."

"Bullshit. No molesting the driver," Gary said, not amused, shoving his penis back into his jeans. "You ever hear of that rule?"

"How about no molesting the passenger," Kirk said, rubbing his shoulder. "That's a rule, too."

"Not in my car," Gary said. "And not when we're going seventy."

Kirk sat back, a little stunned by the anger in Gary's voice. He'd never done anything before to make Gary mad at him.

"Well, don't get all pissed off," Kirk said, his heart now pounding. "I was only foolin' around."

Gary just wiped at the spilled beer in his lap and kept driving. And Kirk sat there with the worry rising in him that Gary was going to stay mad.

"What, you've never had another guy touch your cock before?" Kirk finally said, trying to make it sound like he was blaming Gary for what happened.

Gary said nothing, like he wasn't listening. He lifted the beer from between his legs and drank down the rest of it. Then he threw the empty out the window.

"You never went to a bar and let a guy take you out to your car and suck you off ?" Kirk said.

"How do you know about this shit?" Gary said.

"I been around."

"Yeah, I bet you have," Gary said, like he didn't believe him. "You heard a couple things, and you think you know everything."

Then Kirk really started worrying what Gary was thinking. "You don't think I've done anything like that, do you?" Kirk asked, feeling his heart jump at the sound of his own words.

He hadn't, but then there were things about Kirk that Gary didn't know. And he wanted to keep it that way.

Gary turned to him like he was hearing the hurt in his voice for the first time. He reached over and put his hand on Kirk's knee, patting it. "No, Tiger, I don't," he said.

Kirk felt a wave of relief rush through him, and held onto the feel of Gary's big hand even after he'd taken it back.

Gary pulled the pack of Luckies from his shirt pocket and with a quick flick of the wrist got one to pop up so he could pull it out with his teeth. Then with one hand he worked a pack of matches until he'd flicked one into a flame with his thumb and lighted the cigarette.

He was slipping the matches back into his shirt pocket when he said, "Actually I have let a man touch my cock." And he started telling a story of being on the road, hauling tractor parts, and being so horny he let a guy get friendly at a big truck stop outside of Colorado Springs.

"By the time he bumped into me a couple times in the restaurant and the game room, I figured out what he wanted," Gary said. He had that look, the same one women get when they want some company and are ready to settle for anything.

"Those are the ones. You can pick 'em out of a crowd just like that." He snapped his fingers. "If getting laid is what you want, there's no point wasting time on the other ones." And took a drag on the cigarette.

"Could have been just as easy for him to pick me out. I'd just broke up with my first wife and was feelin' like shit." And about every girl he'd ever had was either married, engaged to be married, or working real hard to steer clear of him.

The guy said his name was Sam. "If you're makin' up a name, I suppose that one's good as any," Gary said.

And he and Sam had gone out to the truck. It was night and starting to drizzle. They had to hurry so they didn't get wet.

"My heart wasn't really in it," he said. But on the other hand, he was as curious as he was desperate. He'd had a few blowjobs and knew he liked them. But never from another man.

The guy had reached for Gary's belt buckle as soon as they got in the cab, but Gary told him to wait, and he opened his jeans just enough for the guy to do his job.

"I kind of leaned back in the corner against the door and closed my eyes." Then he had the sudden thought that he should probably keep his eyes open in case the guy was some psycho. It wouldn't do to suddenly feel the cold blade of a knife against his throat or in his crotch.

"But I couldn't of been more wrong about him," Gary said. He took off the cap he'd been wearing, letting Gary see his thinning hair, and Gary realized the guy was taking a bigger chance with him, getting into a stranger's truck where he might get hit with a wrench or punched in the teeth or pushed out onto the ground and kicked senseless with the heavy boots Gary was wearing.

He'd looked into Gary's eyes and leaned forward over him, putting his hands on Gary's legs and pressing his face down slowly against his soft cock, tugging down on the fly to reach in for his balls.

"It wasn't like a woman doing it," Gary said, "but you know, the difference didn't make it bad."

Gary had thought about it a lot afterwards. The guy had done it like—well, like how a man would do it. Not kind of half-assed and unsure of what he wanted. Not like he was doing you a favor. When he sucked on Gary, it was like some wide receiver catching a pass and running like hell for the end zone.

And he watched as he saw the guy work his dick one way and then another, sucking hard sometimes all the way out to the end, then licking him like a Popsicle and lunging down again to swallow him. For a while, he'd held Gary's balls in one hand, then he opened his mouth around them and stroked them with his tongue.

And while he did that, he was holding Gary's dick in one fist, and Gary could see it was standing up straight and hard. In his mind he still wasn't sure about this whole thing. Gary shook his head, "But my dick was looking back at me like it was saying, no sweat, man, no sweat."

Kirk felt his own dick starting to throb. He realized the story Gary was telling him was making him hard again. He was breathing in quick shallow breaths, like if Gary kept talking, he was going to cum this time, right there in his wranglers.

"Gimme another beer," Gary said. "And this time try not to get it all over me."

Kirk felt for the six-pack between his feet, his erection pressing tight into his jeans, and opened another can as Gary fell silent, the cigarette burning between his fingers on the steering wheel. Ahead of them the lonely highway was dark and empty beyond the Rambler's headlights.

"Then what happened," he said, handing the beer to Gary.

"What do you mean?"

"You know," Kirk said.

Gary took a long thoughtful drink of beer. "I came all over myself," he finally said, laughing coldly. "Shit, it was everywhere." The guy had tried to catch it in his mouth, but all he got was the tail end of it. The last couple of shots. And he licked up what dribbles he could as they oozed out of Gary's dick.

By now the drizzle outside had turned into a hard rain, pounding on the roof of the cab, sheeting down over the windshield. "It was like we were trapped in there together. All of a sudden I was feeling like shit, and I just wanted to be by myself." And he made the guy get out. "Just pushed him out into the rain. Threw his cap out after him and slammed the door."

He'd curled up then on the seat, his shirt and hands wet with cum, miserable and far from home, and he hugged himself until he went to sleep.

Kirk didn't know what to make of this or what to say. He wasn't even sure what Gary was telling him. What he knew was that his balls were aching, and his dick was pushing hard against the inside of his jeans. He pressed down on it with the palm of his hand to keep from cumming, and he felt a patch of wet where his precum had already soaked through.

Gary drove on, saying nothing. Finally they were pulling off the road. They'd made it back to the motel.

Gary flicked a last cigarette butt out the window. "You ever tell anyone that story," Gary said, "and I'll kick my boot so far up your ass you'll be crawlin' on hands and knees for a week just to find it." He turned and looked at Kirk. "You got that?"

"Don't worry," Kirk said. "I won't say a word."

They got out of the Rambler and walked to their rooms, which were next to each other. One of the guys from the crew met them. He'd been sitting in a chair under a yellow light where millers and dizzy, big old moths were fluttering around.

Gary stiffened a little as he walked, like he sensed already that something was wrong.

"It's Rich," the guy said. "We took him to the hospital."

"What's wrong with him," Gary wanted to know.

"His appendix, I guess," the guy said. "The doc said they had to operate."

Kirk didn't really understand. "Is that bad?" he said.

But Gary didn't answer him. They ran back to the Rambler and got onto the highway again, headed for the hospital, twenty miles away in the next town.

Gary had his foot to the floor and the speedometer crawled up over 75, the old car slowing as they crossed a ridge, then picking up speed again as they headed down the other side. The lights of the town glimmered on the prairie ahead of them under the dark summer night sky.

When they got there, the streets were deserted except for a couple of young cowboys scuffling in the weeds around the water tower, who stopped fighting long enough to point them toward the hospital. And on the other side of town, they found it.

Kirk hurried along after Gary, striding with his long legs inside the building and stopping a nurse, who looked friendly and took them to the room. "He's sleeping, poor guy," she said softly. "Don't try to wake him." And then she left to find the doctor.

Gary took off his hat, like he just realized he was still wearing it. And the two of them stepped inside the room. There in the glow of a fluorescent night light over the bed lay Rich, the tube from an IV unit attached to one arm that lay out over the bed sheet, his face on the white pillow the color of ashes, lips purple, his hair matted against his forehead.

Kirk's heart sank when he saw him. He took a deep breath, filling his chest with air, while his knees went weak.

Gary walked straight to the side of the bed and looked down into Rich's sleeping face, reaching with one hand to touch Rich's bare arm. The hospital gown lay loose around Rich's shoulders, and along his neck Kirk could see the pulse of his heartbeat throbbing steadily.

Kirk stepped up alongside Gary and softly put his fingers down into Rich's open hand. "Oh, buddy," he whispered. And the rest of what he was thinking—please don't die—stopped before he could say it.

He was thinking back over the day, the ride to the fair and spending the time with Gary, sitting close to him in the grandstand, then the stop at the tavern, the girl Gary had with him and the way he decked the other guy in the parking lot, and finally the trip back home drinking beer and the story Gary told him. He had never once thought of Rich all day. Not once.

They stood silent now and unmoving, until the doctor walked into the room. He was an older man with graying hair and wire rim glasses and a mustache.

"He was a pretty sick boy when he came in," the doctor said. "But we got him in time." He explained how he had taken one look at Rich in the ER and knew what was wrong. And after an x-ray, they'd rushed him to surgery.

"He's a tough little soldier," he said, smiling and putting his hand down on the bed cover to touch one of Rich's legs. "He'll be a little sore, but he'll be back on his feet in no time."

And he told them they could stay a little while, but they may as well go home for the night. Rich would wake up in the morning and they could visit him then.

So they stayed for a while after the doc left, watching Rich's gentle breathing. "We never should have left him this morning," Gary said grimly.

Kirk thought about this. He kept thinking about it all the way back to the motel, and mostly about what Gary had said after that. "My god, if we'd lost him, I never could have lived with that."

Kirk wondered at these words. At how much Gary felt responsible for Rich—for both of them. His affection, his concern, even his anger weren't just feelings that happened to seize him. He really cared about them.

There was a funny melting sensation in him as he let this sink in. It lasted for just a minute or two, but it made his heart thump in his chest like a football bouncing around, and his face burned hot. He stuck his head next to the open window as they drove, to let the night air wash over him.

Back at the motel, as Gary switched off the engine and the lights, he said, "You can sleep in my room tonight if you want."

They went inside, and Gary turned on a lamp, tossing his hat in a chair and kicking off his boots. The room was hot and stuffy, and he opened a window, leaving the drapes open so the night air could get through to them.

He unsnapped the front of his shirt and looked thoughtfully at Kirk before he pulled it off and tossed it on the floor. Then he unbuckled his belt, pulled back the bedspread and flopped down on the sheets without taking off his jeans.

Kirk took off his shoes, stood for a moment and then lay down beside Gary. The bed wobbled and squeaked under them as he stretched out, and then it settled.

"You OK, Tiger?" Gary said, reaching over to the lamp to switch it off again.

"Tired," Kirk said, realizing he was.

They lay there for a while, not talking. The light from the parking lot sent a beam between the window drapes that fell slantways across the bed and reflected onto the far wall. When Kirk turned to look at Gary, he could see the profile of his face looking up at the ceiling.

His thoughts went back to Rich in the hospital, and it seemed that Gary's must have, too. "He'll be all right," Gary said. "You heard what the doc said."

Rich could only think of how Rich's face was dead pale and his body so still. "I know," Rich said and let out a deep sigh.

"I can understand if you feel kinda worried," Gary said. "He's your best buddy."

"I know," Rich said again, and before he knew what was happening, his eyes filled with hot tears. Rolling over against Gary's side, he began shaking with sobs. Gary said nothing, just put his arms around him and held him until he'd cried himself out.

— § —

Rich was sore, all right, but out of the hospital and back on the job before long. And while he got strong again, Kirk made sure he did most of the work for both of them. Made sure, too, that Rich always wore his hard hat.

In the glow of the bedside lamp at night, he lay beside Rich and touched the healing incision on his belly as day by day it became a thin chalk-line of scar. And each time the melting surrender he felt brought back the wave of fear sweeping over him that night in the hospital.

He wondered now if this was what love feels like, and after a lot of wondering he finally tried saying, "I love you" a few times, to hear the sound of it—while he was taking a shower or standing in the noise of the washers and dryers when he washed their clothes at the laundromat.

Finally, at a late-night diner, after sitting with Rich in the movies watching Cheyenne Autumn, their elbows pressed together on the same arm rest, he waited until the tables around them were empty and quietly said, "I think I love you."

The words kind of hung there over the tabletop, but they sounded OK. Rich had lifted the bun off his hamburger and was pouring on catsup.

"You think you do," Rich said, not looking up.

"Yeah," Kirk said, feeling his face start to flush.

Rich picked up his dripping burger with both hands and said real deadpan, "That's a start."

Kirk kicked him under the table. "I'm serious."

Rich put down his burger and rubbed his shin. "You'll probably get over it."

"Eat me," Kirk said and grabbed for the catsup bottle.

"If I'm still hungry after this, I will," Rich said and took a big bite out of his hamburger.

"Aw, you're just gettin' back at me for something," Kirk said.

"There's plenty," Rich said.

Kirk shut up and thought about not bringing it up again—ever. But he couldn't let Rich have the last word.

"Look," he said, with a slow karate chop over the table. "That's the way I feel, and if you don't like it, that's just too bad."

Rich stuffed French fries into his mouth and just smiled.

That night they sucked each other's cock and fell asleep, arms and legs around each other and bellies pressed together, heads on the same pillow, breathing in each other's milky breath.

— § —

Fall arrives early. They're in Rapid City when the first snow flies. One job follows another, and the snow gets deeper, while the bosses who own the company decide to knock off and head for Arizona until spring. The crew breaks up, and Gary decides to drive out to California to visit his brother Corky in Long Beach and see Disneyland.

He gives Kirk and Rich a ride as far as Rawlins. From there he'll head west, and they'll hitchhike back to Nebraska—to Mike and Danny's.

"I may even look for a job," he says. Corky moved out there in '60 and has been working at an aircraft company. "I wouldn't mind living someplace where half the year you don't freeze your goddam balls off." He nods out the windshield at the snow-covered landscape as they drive south from Casper.

Rich has won the toss and is riding up front. Kirk is leaning forward on the seat between them.

"You're not coming back?" he says to Gary.

Gary shrugs his shoulders under his sheepskin coat, the collar turned up around his ears. "I don't know yet, Tiger," he says.

Kirk takes a good look at Gary. This is turning into a goodbye he hasn't planned on. The thought of not seeing Gary again for a long time starts up an ache inside that reaches down between his legs.

Gary takes them to a truck stop outside Rawlins and buys them a big breakfast. "Don't want my boys getting hungry on the road," he says, sitting across from them as they pour syrup over stacks of buttery pancakes.

Something has come full circle, Kirk realizes. This is how they first all came together, at a table in a diner last summer in Ogallala.

And since then there's been just about every turn in the road a guy's heart can take—wanting, getting, almost losing, falling, hurting, feeling happy, and now losing again. He looks at Gary, smoking a cigarette and sipping a thick mug of coffee through winter-chapped lips, his curly hair grown long and pressed against the collar of his coat.

Gary is watching him, half smiling, and Kirk looks down, wanting to say something but unsure of his feelings. He puts a fork into his pancakes.

Gary starts giving them advice and tells them how to hang out in the diner, picking drivers who look like they might be good for a ride. And which ones to avoid. "Be sure to stick together and don't split up," he tells them.

Then they fall into an awkward silence, just eating, until Gary stubs out his cigarette and says it's time for him to get going.

He stands and Kirk stands up with him, and before he knows what he's doing, he puts his arms around Gary. I don't want you to go, he wants to say, but realizes he's too old to be saying stuff like that. People are probably staring. He should just be shaking Gary's hand, like a man.

"I'm gonna miss you, Tiger," Gary says, patting him on the back. And then Kirk doesn't give a shit what anybody else thinks. He hugs Gary with all his might.

Then Rich is standing, too, and Gary has an arm around each of them. Kirk buries his face in Gary's neck, and he can hear Gary saying, "You two look after each other, OK?" And then he leaves them standing there as he goes to the counter to pay the bill. "I'll send you a postcard from California," he says from across the room.

Walking to the car, he waves as he passes by the window, and he disappears in the late morning sunshine bouncing off windshields and shiny chrome strips, while Kirk's eyes mist over and the parking lot turns into a blur.

People in the diner have stopped watching them, and as they sit together, Kirk reaches under the table to find Rich's hand. They are on their own now.

A snowstorm catches up with them by the time they get a ride to Cheyenne, but a long-haul trucker there says he'll take them all the way to Grand Island, and they pile into the cab with him.

Kirk climbs up into the sleeper and gets Rich to crawl in with him as the truck pulls out onto the highway into the flying snow. It's been several hours since Gary left them, and Kirk is already feeling like himself again. Ready to take on the damn world if he has to. And knowing this time he's not alone.

With Rich crowded into the sleeper with him, he pulls down Rich's zipper and shoves his hand in where the front of his shorts are warm and soft. "Gotcher nuts," he says, "boyfriend."

And as he lies with Rich's arms around him, he feels suddenly more tired than he remembers ever feeling, and wrapped in the rumble of the truck's droning engine he drifts off to sleep, gently rocking as the long highway passes under them.

End of chapter 5. More to come. . .

More stories. There's a novel-length story called "Two Men in a Pickup" and other stories posted at nifty.org. You can find links to them all, plus pictures of the characters and some cowboy poetry at the Rock Lane Cooper home page. Click here. If traffic is heavy, there is a duplicate home page. Click here.

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© 2004 Rock Lane Cooper