It was so very long ago now. I remember it well, of course. They say that when you get to be my age, you remember things from when you were young better than you remember yesterday. For some things, I think that is true.
I met Günter at the end of the war; not that I was in the war. My leg had been broken in a car accident when I was nine years old. It was the same accident that killed my dad. My leg didn't heal properly, even after two reconstructive operations, and I had a noticeable limp. It kept me out of the service, even though, like most in my generation, I had been anxious to serve.
My Italian grandfather, who had worked for the city of Chicago all his life, raised me in the life of city government, and encouraged me to study civil engineering, which I did. That is how I ended up in Cologne, Germany in September of 1945 at the age of twenty-two. I was sent over for the reconstruction effort, courtesy of Uncle Sam.
The city was in ruins. Though GIs were everywhere, people were starving. Women prostituted themselves for chocolate or cigarettes; so did some boys. That's how I met Günter.
There were five of them; street urchins, boys too young to have been sent off as soldiers, even in the final days of the Third Reich, but boys old enough to survive on the streets. They seemed to know that I was American, despite my lack of a uniform. I was too clean, too healthy, and my clothes were in too good a shape to be German. They noticed my limp, though, and perhaps that's why they called me 'soldier'.
"Hey, soldier. Round the vorld, soldier?" the oldest-looking said in a thick, German accent. He was no more than twelve.
"You like my butt, soldier?" another asked. He wiggled it at me. His 'soldier' sounded exactly like I'd heard women saying it as they traded their bodies on other streets for a place to stay or for food.
They were ragged looking boys, and dirty, with close-cropped hair from recent delousing. I'd never been with a boy in my life. Back home, homosexuals were on the same social scale as lepers and village idiots.
I had thought about it though, when I let myself. Growing up without a father, admiring other boys who could run easily and play sports, and envying them their dads, I’d had sexual thoughts about them, and rarely about girls. I just didn't let myself think much about any of that. I had always assumed that nothing would ever happen that way for me, but rather, that I might find a girl who didn’t mind the limp, and marry her.
Günter hung back. He was skinnier than the other boys, quieter. He was a small boy with small features. His blond hair was so pale as to be almost white, but it was filthy. His eyes were such a pale blue that they were almost silver, in a dark-smudged face. His eyes met mine and darted away.
In that city, and across Germany, there were hundreds, thousands, of men, women, girls, and boys, whose difficult conditions could break your heart… if you let them. In the few days I'd been in Cologne, I, like everyone else, had hardened my heart to them.
Something about Günter, though, touched me. Perhaps it was that he looked frail; as though he might not survive the winter that lay ahead – certainly not in those very short shorts European boys wore, and that button up shirt which used to be white. Günter didn't look like a survivor, despite the fact that he was still alive.
"Him," I said, pointing to Günter on a whim.
One or two of the boys glanced at Günter resentfully. The oldest smiled, though. "That is Günter," he informed me. "He take goot care uff you." Then he turned to Günter and fired off a quick stream of German that sounded encouraging in tone, yet firm. I imagined him telling the boy something like, "He wants you. Shake your butt. Make the man happy. Maybe he'll give you food."
Günter's eyes had gone wide. I tried to smile encouragingly. At that moment, I mainly felt sorry for the kid. I thought I'd feed him and maybe find out if there was some way to make sure he got taken care of.
"Come," I encouraged, extending a hand.
He looked around, almost as if looking for escape. As he glanced up and down the street, it occurred to me to look as well. What if I was seen by someone I actually knew? I suppose I could tell them the truth, that I was simply concerned for the boy.
The oldest of the boys seized the initiative and brought Günter to me by the hand. He took my hand, and placed Günter’s in mine. Nodding my thanks, I led Günter away.
"Do you speak English?" I asked.
He said nothing.
The boy came barely to my chest. He was thin – not concentration camp thin, of course, but weak and hungry looking, all the same. I thought about taking him to one of the few restaurants or cafes, but decided against it. It seemed better to take him to the small room I had in a billet for Americans.
The billet was a three-story house on the outskirts of town. Its location was why it had survived the war. The army had taken it over, and given it to civilian specialists like myself for quarters. I had my own room because of its small size, just off the kitchen. I suppose it was a servant's room at one time.
I kept some food there; canned items mainly. And I had a small hot plate. I sat Günter down on my one chair, next to my one night stand. He watched as I heated a can of stew, looking away whenever I glanced at him. We said nothing.
When the stew was ready, I put a bowl before him, and then sat opposite him, on my bed, to eat from my own bowl. I broke off a chunk of bread and handed it to him.
I had worked late that day, like most days. The boys had stopped me on my way home, but it was still light outside my high, narrow window. The boy glanced in that direction from time to time.
He ate slowly. I was glad. It gave his stomach a chance to adjust to real food.
"Günter," I said, softly.
He didn't look at me.
"Günter," I said, patting my chest, "I am Michael... Michael."
He glanced up at me, nodded, glanced down.
In my broken, pitiful German, I tried to ask where he lived and where his family was. He responded with shrugs, and when I asked about his mama or papa, he looked away and briefly, I saw pain.
Like most German cities, Cologne had been bombed into dust. Firestorms had taken many civilian lives. Parents lost children. Children lost parents.
"How old are you?" I asked.
He looked at me uncomprehendingly.
I tried asking in German.
"Elf," he said, in a soft, boy's voice. I knew that meant eleven.
"Where do you sleep? Wo… schlaf?" I tried asking in German; hoping I was asking in a way that didn't imply anything other than sleep.
"You can't feed them all," my boss told me the day I arrived in Cologne. "You can't feed them all, or clean them, or dress them. They brought this on themselves... oh, they'll all tell you now that they hated the Nazis, but they loved them when they were winning the war. Just do your job, Michael. That's the best thing you can do for them. Rebuild their city, and enjoy yourself. A guy like you, with your thick black hair and those dark eyes… you can have all the girls you want. Give each one a little chocolate and have fun feeding the city that way." He laughed hard when he said that, and I wondered just how many frauleins he’d fed chocolate to.
Daily, as my work took me around the city, I reminded myself that I couldn't feed them all, couldn't house them, clothe them... a gentle man's heart could break, worrying about those things. But that night, the night I brought Günter home, there was only one boy in my room; only one to feed and worry about.
He finished, and sat with his hands folded in his lap. I studied him.
"Come," I said, getting up. I extended my hand to him.
He looked at my hand for a moment, then took it. I threw a towel over my shoulder and led him outside. We would have water again at the house soon. Water works were part of my department’s job, and I made sure our street and house were close to the top of the work lists. In the meantime, however, three jerry cans of water on top of a makeshift, wooden stall over an old concrete slab served as our shower. A four-foot tall band of wood around three sides of the stand gave it a little privacy. I led Günter to it, pointed at his chest, then at the shower, then tugged at his shirt and held out my hand.
The boy looked longingly at the shower. Not every boy would have wanted to bathe, even in his condition, but Günter wanted to. He was nervous about it though. He probably thought I only wanted to wash him before asking him for sex.
I smiled, encouragingly. "Go ahead," I said. "No one's going to bite you."
Understanding only my tone, hesitatingly, he removed his shirt, then his shoes, or what passed for shoes, no socks, his shorts, and a pair of really dirty underwear. I tried not to look too closely at him; I didn't want to frighten him, but I was concerned. His long arms and legs were spindly, his skin, where his clothes covered, was very white. His cock was a dangling worm, probably about normal for a kid his age; maybe a little longer. He dashed into the shower before I got a very good look. I decided, on the whole, that he appeared to be healthy enough, but the kid needed food.
I leaned in to show him how to work the shower, pointed out the soap in a dish, and then stepped back to wait.
"Brought home a stray, Mikey?" I heard a voice ask. It was Nigel, the lone Brit among us, and the only other one in the house who had a room to himself, though he had a double bed and I only had a single. He was a sandy-haired, very outgoing guy, slightly shorter than me, but with the same, lean frame so many of us had back then. He had a great smile, and grey eyes that were always a twinkle over something he found amusing. The two of us had hit it off from the first day.
Nigel actually had been a soldier; still was, technically. He was waiting for discharge, but like myself, was in Cologne to help with the reconstruction.
I nodded in response to Nigel’s observation, not sure what to say. Günter snuck a peek back over his shoulder at us, but kept his back to us and quickly looked away. His little, wet butt cheeks dimpled. They were about the only clean area on him.
"My god, Michael," Nigel said. "That one won't ever come clean." He glanced at the clothes in my hands. "What are you going to do with those?"
"I thought I'd wash them," I said.
"You'd do better to burn them," he said, lifting the shirt between his thumb and a fingertip. "This for sure." He shook his head. "Let me go wash these for you, and I think I have a shirt I can give him." He glanced up at me. "Where'd you find him?"
I shrugged. "With some boys."
"Boys selling their bodies?" he asked with a cocked eyebrow.
I nodded. "But I wasn't... I don't..."
"I know, ol' boy," he said. "You can't help them all, but sometimes, you simply have to help one. Sometimes you just have to help one, or you know you’ll lose your sense of humanity completely." He patted my shoulder. "I'll take care of these."
Günter had gotten himself wet, and then soaped up, the way showers are taken when you don't have much water. He was about to rinse, but I wasn't satisfied with the job he'd done.
"Nein," I told him, leaning in. I took the soap from his hand and lathered up his hair. Then I scrubbed his arms and his back. I worked over the back of his legs while he kept his privates covered with both hands. I pulled one of his hands away and put the soap into it. "You can finish," I told him.
He did, rinsing. I helped get the soap from his hair and then lathered it up again. When he was finished, I handed in the towel. A few moments later, Günter stepped from inside the stall, not exactly transformed, but cleaner, with the towel around his waist and his wet, white hair sticking out all over. He looked around for his clothes.
"My friend," I tried saying. I knew no word for washing, so I tried gestures to indicate that Nigel was washing Günter’s clothes.
Günter seemed to understand, and he let me lead him back inside. Once in my room, I got out a chocolate bar for dessert. He glanced at me warily, but I simply shrugged, unwrapped it, and shared the chocolate with him. He ate it, slowly, savoring it.
I gave him a glass of water, and then motioned for him to wait, trying to explain as best I could, that I was going to go looking for Nigel and Günter’s clothes. The boy sat back in the chair, tentatively.
Nigel was in his room. "This shirt ought to do," he said, holding up a button-up of his own which was definitely smaller than one I would have been able to give Günter.. "The boy’s clothes are hanging over there," he said, pointing. "They'll take a while to dry. Are you going to keep him overnight?"
"Yeah," I said, nodding. "I don't think he has a place to stay."
Nigel glanced at me from the corner of his eye. "When you take in a stray," he said, off-handedly, "it's sometimes difficult to turn them loose again."
I took a deep breath. "I haven't even thought about that yet. It just seemed important to get some food in him, and then clean him up a little."
Nigel smiled and gave my shoulder a squeeze. "If you take him in for a while, some of our friends will call you crazy. But you do what's right; what your own heart tells you. Personally, I think it's admirable. And I’ll let the others in the house know about him so they don’t chase him off if they see him."
I smiled, gratefully. "Have you ever done that, Nigel?” I asked. “Have you ever taken in a stray, or thought about it?" I asked.
Nigel’s smile became slightly pained. “Well now, that wouldn’t do, I’m afraid; not me taking in one of those lovely lads.”
“Why?” I asked.
His eyes met mine. “I’m a public school boy, Michael,” he said with a sad smile. “I grew up buggering with other boys. You know what that means?”
I nodded. I thought I remembered what buggering meant.
“I’d appreciate it if you don’t repeat that,” he said, his eyes dropping to the shirt as he neatly folded it. “I told you because you seem a decent sort for a Yank. And now you understand why I really couldn’t take a boy like yours in. I’m afraid I’d take advantage of him.”
I shook my head slowly. “It strikes me that if a boy is willing to do what these boys do, just for some food, he might… well… it just seems like one of those boys wouldn’t mind if you… if he… well, I don’t think he’d mind.”
“My, you are open-minded for a Yank,” he said, his eyes rising to meet mine once more. For a moment, his eyes softened, and it looked like he was trying to read mine. Then he sighed and handed me the shirt. “Might as well take the boy’s other clothes with you. They’ll dry just as well in your room. If you’re interested tomorrow, I know a place where we can get some clothes for your boy.
‘My boy.’ I almost smiled at that. It sounded like he was my pet. “Thanks, Nigel,” I said sincerely. “And thanks for, um, telling me that about yourself.”
This time, I patted him on the back, and he leaned slightly back into the pat. That little lean back toward me had a surprising effect on me; him with his slightly smaller, lean frame, and the closeness of his back to my front… I felt a sudden heat on my cheeks and a stirring between my legs. I swallowed hard and quickly left. My breath was a little ragged. For the first time in my life, I had a friend who might… I pushed the thoughts from my mind. I could be mistaken.
It was dark when I reentered my room. I turned on the light bulb overhead to find Günter asleep in my bed, facing the wall. It surprised me to find him there, sleeping, but then I decided it should be no surprise. I wondered when the last time was that Günter had slept in a real bed with soft sheets. As poor as my little twin bed was, it was better than the ground.
He had my one pillow, or I might have made a bed on the floor. All I had was a rug to sleep on, on the floor, and my chair was too small and uncomfortable to sleep in. I didn’t want to panic Günter – I didn’t want him waking and thinking I was about to rape him – but I was tired, too.
Quietly, I undressed to my briefs, turned out the light, and crawled into bed beside him, keeping my back to his back so he would feel less threatened if he awakened. If he did wake, he didn’t show it, even when our bare backs came in contact. His breathing seemed regular. As I tried to relax for sleep, I thought of Nigel. I could ask to sleep with him since Günter had my bed. I’d seen Nigel naked in the shower and without a shirt many times. He had a tight little body, and I grew hard, thinking of holding it to mine.
Once more, I shoved those thoughts from my mind, but this time, because I didn’t want to get myself worked up. I wasn’t about to have Günter wake to me jacking myself off in bed. Instead, I thought of Lake Michigan at that time of year, and of swimming there when we were kids. But then I remembered how I admired the bodies of the other boys, glistening wet in the sun. So I thought instead, of home, and Mom, and my own room and bed.
In the night, I woke on my back. Günter was on his side, facing me. He was sleeping with his face against my shoulder. I pulled my arm from between us, and laid it behind his back. Günter snuggled closer. I didn’t know whether he was asleep or not; at least, I thought he was sleeping, but he put his head on my shoulder. When I looped my arm behind his back, he laid his arm over my chest. His breath tickled my skin.
His breathing stayed regular, and it was comfortable with him snuggled against me, very comfortable. My cock grew hard and extended out toward my far hip, trapped by my briefs, but I didn’t think about that. I simply lay still and let Günter sleep against me, much like one might stay still to let a kitten sleep undisturbed in his lap.
I slept lightly after that, and when I woke to find that Günter had snuggled even closer and had cocked a leg over mine, and when I realized that he had an erection pressed against my hip, I no longer slept at all. Well, I suppose I did manage to doze a little, until I heard the rest of the house stirring and footsteps upstairs, which meant the day had begun.
Günter had not changed positions since he had snuggled fully on to me, and I was reluctant to wake him. I wondered how long it had been since the boy had good sleep. And yet, I needed to go to work. I could try to pull from under him, but he might wake. I decided that I needed to wake him anyway; I couldn’t leave him alone while I left for the day… could I? I stroked the warm skin of his back with my fingertips as I thought, and he nuzzled into the front of my shoulder.
“Günter,” I whispered. “I have to go to work.” I stroked his back. “Arbeit, job.”
He sat partway up, rubbing his eyes with one hand. When he did, the bedcovers slipped down his side and he pulled them around his waist to cover his nakedness and morning erection. When he did, he uncovered the front of my briefs and my own, morning erection. His eyes fell on it.
I sat up quickly, backing my butt up the bed and my middle from directly under his gaze. When I did, his eyes fell on my misshapen shin. He extended a hand, and touched it with his fingers.
I was used to people looking away when they first saw my leg. It took a little
getting used to; not because it was so grotesque. It really wasn’t. It’s
just that the shin bone does an obvious jag and slight twist. The shape is just
unnatural enough to make people uncomfortable. Günter studied it though,
and even rested his hand on it. Perhaps, I thought, it made it easier for him
to be with me since I had a vulnerability of my own.
“Happened when I was a kid,” I said. “Ich ein kind.” I hoped I’d said that correctly. As far as I knew, I’d just told him a kid did it to me.
“Waren sie wie alt?” he asked in that high, light voice of his.
I hesitated, not sure what he was asking.
“Waren sie?” he asked again, his hand resting on my shin, almost compassionately.
Mainly from his tone, I guessed he was asking how old I had been. “Neun,” I answered. “Nine.”
He nodded, sadly, and it struck me as somewhat wonderful that a boy in his straights would so easily have compassion for someone else.
He glanced up at me and asked something else, but I had no idea what. Perhaps he was asking if it ever hurt, or if I could run on it, or if it could be fixed; all things I’d been asked before. I shrugged and shook my head sadly to indicate that I didn’t understand. Then I nodded at the bed. “Schlaf gut?” I asked. “Sleep good?”
He nodded and then sat up fully, drawing the covers around him.
I got up from the bed and pulled on my pants. “I’ve got to take a leak,” I said. “Gehen piss,” I said, nodding toward the door.
Günter got up from the bed, trying to keep his morning wood turned away. I got a glimpse, though. It was a pretty proud stiffy for an eleven-year-old; at least I thought so, remembering my own at that age, and I was well enough endowed.
He grabbed his underwear to pull on. It still looked damp and I took it from him. It was slightly damp. I had an iron, one of the old, all-metal kind which I found after I was in Europe. I placed it on the hot plate and turned on the hot plate.
Günter saw, and grinned. His first grin, and it was beautiful in an all-boy way, with white, even teeth and happy eyes.
“Not used to ironing underwear, huh?” I asked with a chuckle. I got out two bowls and poured dry cereal. I had no milk, but I did get us two glasses of water from the kitchen.
Günter sat on the bed, and his dick grew flaccid between his two spindly legs, He ate silently, and I ironed his clothes to at least warm them, and perhaps dry them some. I gave him a loaf of bread for the day, and wondered if he would share it with his friends.
As we left that morning, I showed him how I locked the door to my room, and then I took him around the side of the house and hid the key in a pile of bricks, making sure he saw just where it was hidden.
“Tonight,” I said. “Diese nacht.” I pointed at his chest, and then at the house in the direction of my room.
He looked doubtful and hopeful at the same time.
“Daytime, too,” I said. “You can stay here today if you wish. “Tag okay, nacht okay… Bitte,” I said, with an encouraging smile. “Please.”
Günter nodded, slowly. I grinned, and then the two of us stepped into the bushes for our long-delayed morning piss before heading back into town, walking silently, but side-by-side.
I know! I know! I still need to finish Gator, and I'm working on it. In the meantime, this story came to me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I have four chapters in mind for this story. Let me hear from you if you like it. :)