Copyright 2008, 2012 by Carl Mason

All rights reserved. Other than downloading one copy for strictly personal enjoyment, no part of this story may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, except for reviews, without the written permission of the author. However based on real events and places, "Mike Hennigan" is strictly fictional. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. As in real life, sexual themes unfold gradually. Comments on the story are appreciated and may be addressed to the author at carl_mason@verizon.net.

 If you would like to read additional stories by this author, please turn to the "Authors/ Prolific Authors" link at the beginning of the Nifty Archive.

This story contains descriptions of sexual contact between males, both adults and teenagers. As such, it is homoerotic fiction designed for the personal enjoyment of legal, hopefully mature, adults. If you are not of legal age to read such material, if those in power and/or those whom you trust treat it as illegal, or if it would create unresolvable moral dilemmas in your life, please leave. Finally, remember that maturity generally demands safe sex.


(Revisiting Chapter 9)

[The Director of Admissions asked Mike if he would] be willing to serve an "internship" of one year during which time he would receive help in developing . . . [necessary foundational knowledge and study skills]. Light work at the University's Alumni Camp at Big Bear Lake in the mountains of the San Bernardino National Forest, about 90 miles northeast of the Los Angeles basin, would cover his expenses. The University would provide a tutor. If at the end of that period his tutor said he was ready, he would be admitted to CSU, Playa de Oro, without further question.

The three men looked at each other, exhaled, and grinned. Without further discussion, they knew they had a plan.

(Concluding Our Story: Jim Rice)

Mike met his tutor-designate in the office of Dr. Kenneth Loschner, the new Cinematography Chair at CSU, Playa. (As many colleagues had predicted, Dr. Brixton had resigned the moment he got an offer from a more prominent school.) Long experience in working with people told him much the same thing as it had told Bash and the Director of Admissions - and so many others on first meeting Hennigan in the past. Namely, whatever their "personal" interest - or lack of it - and regardless of his rocky beginning, this young man had great promise as a human being. These "rough stones" could not simply be left along the side of the road. Quite frankly, Loschner had another motivation. Jim Rice was a promising scholar, but progress in his doctoral program had slowed to a crawl after he completed most of his course work. For instance, he had been promising to produce a dissertation proposal for months. His doctoral committee had just about run out of patience! It just might be that the mountains would provide a better place to complete this task than the fleshpots of the southern California coast! Inasmuch as the money didn't have to come out of his budget, he stood ready to make it well worth Jim Rice's time and energy to carefully observe and develop Mike.

For his part, Jim realized that a change of locale might help him overcome the "stale" feelings that had been blocking him for some time. (It's a long haul from entering college to being awarded a doctoral degree!) Further, while they say that the "proof of the pudding is in the eating", Rice's first impression of Mike Hennigan was especially positive. There was a lot more to that young man than was apparent from his academic record...or his body! And Mike's first impression?" Well, he felt positively towards the guy - but, more, he felt as if he had met him somewhere before. But where...

(CSU's Big Bear Lake Alumni Camp)

Their immediate goals clear, both young men saw no reason to delay heading for Big Bear Lake. Besides, the summer was already upon them, and the (paid!) recreational hiking and fishing opportunities in the San Bernardino National Forest told them to get a move on! (Further, the fact that the Big Bear Lake area was one of the premier winter sports areas of Southern California wasn't lost on them.) Thus, it wasn't long after their agreement with Dr. Loschner had been sealed that they were headed towards the higher mountains in Rice's "old but still serviceable" Volkswagen.

Naturally, they talked of everything...and nothing. For instance, Mike worried about what he had to do to prove that he still had a grip on his secondary school work. After all, it had been several years since he'd walked the halls of a high school! In essence, Jim told him to relax. They had plenty of time. Within the week, he'd be reading and writing. If they needed additional facilities for a scientific project, they'd been invited to come over to Big Bear High School in Sugarloaf, a residential subdivision not far from Big Bear Village.

Mike was also dismissive of the description of the area as a land of "towering pines, sparkling streams, hidden lakes, and abundant wildlife". On his way to the coast, he'd encountered little in southern California save denuded mountain slopes and dry, chaparral-covered land that seemed little different from deserts...and people, so many people...TOO DAMNED MANY people! Jim's reply was straight from the shoulder: Sure, there were a lot of people, and that created problems. Had there not been opportunities and features in the area that attracted them, however, they wouldn't have come...nor would they have stayed. It was also true that in the later 19th Century into the 20th, logging had been a serious problem as urban centers and military facilities were being developed. Everyone was screaming for lumber, as they were now screaming for water. Today, however, forestry and water management were under much stricter controls.

As they neared the dam at the bottom of Big Bear Lake after about two hours on the road, Mike finally dared to mention his obligations to the now 15 year old Hal Bennett. "The bottom line is that I am not going to throw him away," he declared. "His beginning in life has been destructive enough without that." He added that basic arrangements satisfactory to both Hal and him were in place for the year ahead, but he wondered if the lad might come up to Big Bear on occasion. Jim didn't speak for well over a minute. When he broke his silence, he did so in a tone of voice that suggested that he was being extremely careful. There was also the faintest whiff of disappointment. "No problem, Mike," he said. "After all, I'm not your jailer. I'd only be disturbed if the relationship caused legal problems for me...or academic problems at school." (Pause.) "Hey," he continued, "I don't want to butt into your personal life, but am I intruding on something sexual here?" Mike looked at him squarely and murmured, "Nothing long-term or exclusive, Jim. It's just that I intend to honor a pledge I made to myself...and him...to see him through this time in his life." Jim shook his head, looked just a mite relieved, and kept going on the road that led along the north side of the lake. Within minutes, they turned onto a asphalt-paved road that took off into the trees. Almost immediately, they pulled up in front of a rustic lodge. "Ta DA!" yipped Jim. "We're home!"


"Oh, man!" Mike sighed, setting his soda aside. "That tastes good!" The young men had collapsed into comfortable chairs in the lounge, leaving their gear in the car until they had recovered from their journey. "Yep, sure does," Jim agreed. "In a little bit, by the way, we'll go over to the staff room we share. It's located in a separate building above the laundry facilities. Starting on Monday, you'll work a limited number of hours in the Camp store - unless, that is, the Chief Service Honcho decides she needs more cleaning help. Usually that only happens on an occasional weekend. Furthermore, both supervisors know that you are not one of their regular employees. Your tutoring will always have priority." "What's your work assignment?" Mike inquired. "You!" Jim answered with a guffaw as he noisily sucked the last soda out of the bottle. "Ok, Muscles, let's get our stuff over to our room and then I'll show you around."

After stowing their gear, getting their room into shape, and hiking around the sizable property that was located on a ridge overlooking the lake, the young men had sprawled on one of the beds. Looking around - and noting that it was clean and comfortable, albeit a bit spartan - Mike focused on Jim's laptop which sat atop a small table. "Wow..." he exclaimed, "all the bells and whistles... Am I ever going to learn to use one of those?" "Duh..." his tutor responded, pulling a second machine out of one of his packs and extending it to his curly-haired compatriot. Our Department has several refurbished loaners for use on trips and the like. I snagged one for you. Your first tutoring assignment, by the way, is to write a page or so on the meaning of 'love'. It'll help you to begin mastering the machine...and unsticking your mind. All you have to do is ask...any time after supper. By then, the student who is going to teach you how to type will be available." "Thanks, I think..." laughed Mike. The lodge is quite a building, by the way... I counted eighteen furnished rooms, a large lounge with bar, a smaller business lounge with internet access, a small gym, a kid's playroom, and immense dining room/meeting room/theater, and a large kitchen...not counting lavatories and other service rooms." "Right!" Jim said emphatically. Smirking, he added, "but don't forget the separate laundry facility, the small shower room down by the beach, the separate Camp store, about twenty cabins scattered around the property, and a few tool sheds." "We're right in the middle of hiking and ski trails?" Mike asked. "Well, we sure have access to some good hiking and fishing," Jim allowed, "but the Camp was built before skiing and snowboarding became the rage. Hence, the Alumni Association also owns a much smaller 'chalet' over in Moonridge, a residential area on the other side of the Lake that is much closer to the main winter sport areas. During the summer, however, both facilities are pretty well filled up. Then we handle about thirty-five to forty families a week. Other than at weeks' end, the staff doesn't do much housekeeping, but they do provide backup and a super activities program for everyone!"

Looking up from the bed on which they were sprawled, Jim continued, "It's going to be supper time soon, frosh!" (Mike grinned with pleasure at the mention of his "honorary" collegiate rank.) Go down the hall and get a good shower. Come back here on the double and I'll give you a few minutes of my patented massage!" "Is it safe?" guffawed Mike. "Not very," admitted his tutor, "but if you don't get your ass into gear pretty soon, we won't even have time for that! MOVE!"

Jim, now stripped down to his briefs, watched the towel-clad youngster reenter the room, drop his towel without self-consciousness, and walk towards him on the bed. "Omygod!" he sighed, rolling slightly so that his immediate hard-on wouldn't be quite as obvious. With a grin and a grunt, the youth dropped down onto the bed beside him. The warmth and the scent of this spectacular young man just about sent him over the edge! Extending his hand in something close to a religious gesture, he softly stroked the back of the lad's sturdy neck, and thence his heavy shoulders. Slowly, he worked his way down Mike's heavily muscled back until he reached the top of his buttocks. Not a hair...perfection... Scarcely able to contain himself, he took the two lightly tanned globes of muscle into his hands, flexing them gently until he was able to glimpse the flower that lay in the depths of his smooth crack. Jim couldn't begin to explain what came over him at that moment. The fact remained that the combination of smooth muscle, glorious definition, and the warmth and scent of the exquisite youth sent him spinning off into the galaxy! Sheer passion saw the tip of his tongue contact the flower which quivered violently in response. Moaning, Mike instinctively spread his thighs. Audibly snuffing as he moved nose and tongue, Jim inhaled the odors from the youth's baby-smooth taint, continuing until he was able to gently taste one of the firm balls that stretched the bottom of his soft sack.

Jim was always unable to fully describe what happened next. He did remember that he suddenly found himself facing Mike...facing a lad who was responding every bit as passionately as he. His eyes were clenched shut - he couldn't breathe. He knew he was thrashing over and over...in ways akin to the 'death roll' of the crocodile. And then, suddenly, it stopped. He sensed light, silence, oxygen returning to his lungs, holding the incomparably muscular, cum-covered body of the youth he loved in his arms...and the youth he loved was crying and brokenly protesting his love for him! Dear God. Such miracles that day.

Jim shook his head, saying, "Say again, Mike?" (Pause.) "Do you remember that wide S-curve in the old State highway that lay on top of the bluffs?" Mike whispered. [Author's Note: See Chapter 2.] (Pause.) "And a green sports car?" Jim asked in a wavering voice. Mike broke in: "And a boy who yelled, "I'm coming back...I'll be back here...Watch for me...Watch for me!" (Pause.) "Three years...three years..." Jim cried, "but now I have you in my arms - and, believe me, I'm NEVER going to let go!

(A Busy Year)

With a soft grin, Mike asked, "Did you ever think we'd find each other again?" Jim looked up from his student's essay on "love" that he was reviewing and shook his head wonderingly. "Well, I'll tell you, Mike," he answered, "Had I only had this essay to work from, I would have known that we had to. I only reached that level of glory...of meaning... once in my life...and it was up on that road. I gather from your essay, that it was a onetime happening for you, too." "Yeah," Mike whispered. "Only once before the other afternoon on the bed. I know that sex isn't the whole story, but...Whew!" He shook his head and added, "Are you ready to go over that Spanish lesson with me?" "First thing in the morning, Big Beast," Jim replied. "I've got some reading for my dissertation to complete before I sack out tonight." "Oh, you never told me what you're working on," Mike responded lazily. "Well, fellow film major, you'll find that much of the American film industry began right in this area. This was really the 'back lot' for many of the early studios, especially during the silent era. I'm working on the story of a couple of little-known guys from Redding who kinda defined the role of the 'American cowboy' around 1915. I think I'm going to title it, 'California's Mountain Cowboys'" "Wow..." Mike gasped.

The more they talked and worked together, the more they found they both enjoyed. For example, on their one "day off" per week, they hiked many of the easier trails around the Lake. (There were more rigorous trails up in the San Bernardino Mountains, but they had to wait until they got used to the elevation [between 6,750 feet and 9,000 feet above sea level] and toughened up their feet and legs.) Mike was really pleased! Jim obviously enjoyed mountain hiking and backpacking as much as Hal.

Speaking of Hal, Mike and Jim invited him up to the Lake for the Fourth of July. As one might guess, the redhead was a little tentative at first. In actuality - thanks in large part to Jim's efforts - the three of them ended up enjoying a super weekend rather than skating perilously close to an emotional disaster. For instance, he identified a young staff member from Cal State, a kayak enthusiast who happily involved Hal with his friends. In the final analysis, however, it was apparent that Jim liked the kid and didn't have to go out of his way to show it. The big events, of course, were the Camp bar-be-que and the evening fireworks. (Oh, yes, Hal had to see the Grizzly Bear at the zoo over in Moonridge. The last wild one in Bear Valley had been killed in 1906.) When they went out on the Lake that night with the Camp Director's family, for instance, it was interesting to see that Hal seemed as comfortable using Jim as a pillow as did Mike. It was only as it came time for Hal to leave, that he seemed to lose his cool. As he stood in the middle of their room looking lost, Jim simply walked over to him, caught him up in a ferocious bear hug, and kissed him hard, squarely on the lips. After whispering a few words into his ear, he swatted the long drink of water on the butt and sent him off to meet Mike (and his ride back to LA) outside the Lodge. On returning to their room, Mike told Jim that the lad had held it together...just...hoarsely muttering his thanks to both of them for an "awesome" weekend. "He also told me that you thought he was a great guy and really wanted to be friends," Mike added. Jim looked up, said, "Yeah - that's the truth," and pounded his mattress in invitation!

The summer continued...not missing a positive beat. For the very first time in his life, Mike actually enjoyed his studies - and made solid progress in refurbishing his secondary school knowledge and skills. True, he was unlikely to choose the life of the scholar. It wasn't in him and, probably, never had been. The main point was that he was more likely to approach his actual choice positively, without being dragged down by a lot of baggage that had lost much of its poison. And Jim? He whipped through his dissertation proposal as if it were a freshman essay - and had it approved enthusiastically by his committee. Presently, there was so much original material appropriate for "California's Mountain Cowboys" that his main problem lay in separating the wheat from the chaff. In that he had access to the advice of tens of individuals in San Bernardino County, Hollywood, and Playa d'Oro who had solid knowledge of the two boys from Redding - and the early film stars who followed their lead. (He actually met some of them at the annual Big Bear Cowboy Gathering!) When he wasn't reading, organizing his data, or doing some early writing, he was out following one more lead. Whenever possible, he planned this activity for the hours during which Mike was busy in the Camp Store. He did have to take three overnight trips during the summer and winter months, but this allowed him to preserve their "one day off" rule.

The pace slowed a bit as summer ended, although Big Bear labored to invent new and attractive events - and the millions of metropolitan dwellers virtually on their doorstop promised considerable success. (This was Mike's only real criticism of Big Bear. It was just too close to the second largest city in the country to be a true "mountain wilderness"! He did see that it was an important playground, an escape from the freeways and the smog, if you will.) In any case, there was plenty to do when not another minute could be spent on academics! The snow (and the cold) came early, and that set off other planning. For instance, when Mike called Hal to invite him up to the Lake for four days at Christmas and his birthday, the yell of acceptance was loud enough to set off an avalanche! Inasmuch as it was a little early for the Alumni Camp's Director to move his family over to the chalet in Moonridge, Jim was invited to use his suite that included a sitting room, an enormous bedroom, a second bedroom, and a private bathroom.

Wearing a perpetual smile and a new coat that his doctor at Playa's LGBTQ Center had given him as an early Birthday-Christmas present, Hal arrived on an absolutely brilliant, albeit cold, December day. He had gotten a ride all the way from Playa. He said that the Valley looked like a winter wonderland from the road. Evidently, there was a thin glaze of ice on the lake, for he immediately asked if they did any iceboating. When told that their ice didn't support this sport, he grunted, but indicated that he had his eye on snowboarding anyway! After renting some additional winter clothing and gear in the Village - and securing a few hours of instruction - it was hard to get Hal off the slopes! Obviously, the young man was a natural athlete, and his build was beginning to show it. Mike and Jim fooled around a bit on the slopes, but they were the first to admit that they much preferred their hiking and fishing. (That was ok with Hal, for the slopes were teeming with teenagers who, even in Mike and Jim's estimation, spoke the most incomprehensible jargon ever invented by the adolescent "species"!)

On Christmas Eve there was a minor disagreement when a sore and slightly battered teen was told that they had to go out and get some food...even if he didn't feel like it that night. Hal was absolutely dumbfounded when he walked into a really nice restaurant to find that a table had been reserved for his birthday and Christmas celebration. (The pain quickly disappeared, to be replaced by the joy of a memorable evening!) Afterwards, they returned to the chalet to sprawl out on one of the king-sized beds and just...hang. The small fireplace in the bedroom and a small decorated tree on a table (given them by the Director) added a great deal to an atmosphere of love and support. Mike noticed that at this point Hal was just about as affectionate with them as they were with him. Nevertheless, when it came time to sack out, Hal stood up, reluctantly said goodnight, and headed quietly for the door to the sitting room. Grinning at Mike - for the two had discussed this well before Hal arrived at the Lake - Jim called out, "You're leaving us, Red? You prefer that damned couch? You don't want to have a little fun with us?"

Hal stopped dead in his tracks - and just stood there for a moment, his back still to his friends. Finally, he slowly turned towards them. In the gentle light from the fireplace, his eyes gleamed like those of a wild animal, though the tears had not yet begun to cascade down his face. Stifling a sob, he turned to Mike, saying, "You didn't tell him, bro. As much as you love him, you didn't tell him. I love you so much." Then, turning towards Jim, he stood straight and softly whispered, "I'm positive, Jim. Mike and Dr. Mac got me onto my pills, a special diet, and exercise. The Center has helped me all along with testing, back-up...and advice on "safer" sex. God, how I'd love to get it on with the two of you! I love you both; you're my family. Truth is, though, I just don't have sex with anyone anymore unless we've both gone all the way on safer sex precautions. And let's face it," he added with a wry grin, "as good as it is, it's sure not freestyle...like freestyle on the board where you just wind up and GO! As much as I might want him, I just can't push another guy to put up with all that crap," he concluded darkly, beginning to turn back towards the door.

"HAL! Get your ass back over here!" Mike barked. "You have your Christmas presents, but you didn't get your birthday present from the two of us!" From somewhere, Mike brought out a small box decorated in bright red foil with a green ribbon and extended it to Hal. Holding the box gingerly as if it might explode at any moment, Hal pulled off the ribbon and looked cautiously within. All he found was a small square of paper with a message signed by both Mike and Jim. Beyond "Happy Sixteenth!" it said that they hoped Hal would move in with them when they returned to Playa in May. The tears that had been damned up for some time couldn't be held back any longer. Hal tried to speak, but he couldn't. That was just as well, for both Mike and Jim leapt off the bed and stripped him butt naked where he stood. Then they threw him on the bed and, after taking the time to do it the right way, the safe way, had their way with him...and he with them.

Naked, their arms around each other, they stood before the great window, watching the Christmas sun appear over the mountains.


The redheaded one did move in with them that spring. In the fulness of time, he had a good life, a life in which he was always close. (When he was a junior at San Francisco State, for example, he actually brought his Cal-Berkeley boyfriend down to Playa at Thanksgiving to meet the family.) Yes, he always showed scars from his earlier experiences, but don't we all?

The next fall at age 22, Mike entered the California State University at Playa de Oro. In time, he completed his degree in their strong film program, perhaps encouraged by the fact that Dr. James Rice had accepted the offer of an assistant professorship in Cinematography.

They would celebrate their 50th Anniversary together, Jim having made a strong contribution to cinematographic history while Mike served as one of the most sought after directors in the industry!