is a work of
Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the
imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Warning: This story describes sexual acts between consenting adults. If it is illegal for you to read such stories, or if you do not like to read such stories, please leave now. Also, there are brief descriptions of violence that may be troubling to some readers.
This story is copyright 2006 by the author who retains all rights.
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A warm thank you goes out to all who write. I appreciate knowing someone is actually reading this stuff, whether you like it or not. I try to answer all emails, even flames. (I’m a writer, I live for rejection.) Although sometimes it takes a little time to get back to you, I do try to answer. If I'm remiss in replying to yours, I apologize.
by Carl Holiday
Chapter 1 – Escape
“Hey, David, what’re you up to this fine winter day,” I said to my second best friend who’d just walked up and sat down beside me on the Gay bench overlooking the sports courts, which is kind of ironic considering both of us are gay and William S. Gay, who was the Chancellor here at Fort Okanogan College back in the Fifties, wasn’t. After he died in 1989, his youngest son, who is gay, gave the College a ton of money on the condition they put these benches throughout the campus. There’re supposed to be twenty Gay benches at various locations all over campus, but I’ve only found six and I’ve been here three years.
“It’s snowing if you hadn’t noticed,” David said. He’s what you’d probably call the stereotypical queer. You know, medium height, dirty blond hair, blue eyes, fair skin, swimmer’s build, limp wrist, sweet fem voice full of all those beautiful inflections, and girls just dripping off him wherever he goes. They can’t leave him alone. He’s like a girl magnet and pisses all the straight guys on campus to no end.
“Yeah, but at least it’s not raining,” I said. I was watching my four best friends play two on two basketball. Ceddy—Who in their right mind would name their son Cedric Reginald Smythe? Ceddy’s parents did and tacked on the Roman numeral VI that went along with it. We couldn’t call him Rick because we had one already—was paired with his clone, Rick Jamison. They were the perfect pair in any two on two game because they could anticipate each other’s moves. If they weren’t so damn straight, you might think they were lovers. Butch Connor and Connor Butcher—Yeah, I know, what’s the chance that two guys with practically the same opposite names could end up being friends, let alone go to the same college? Except, Butch isn’t Butch at home, only among his friends is he Butch, all the other times he’s Steven—make up the other pair; and, yes, they’re attached at the hip, too. And, don’t even think you might win if you challenge them instead of Rick and Ceddy because you won’t. Butch and Conny—only his closest friends get to call him that—might be just a little better than the other two, but some days they aren’t. I hadn’t figured out who was going to win this match.
“What’re you doing out here in the cold?” I asked.
“Looking for a ride to Wenatchee,” he said. I could hear something in his voice and it wasn’t the usual free spirit who knows where to find the closest gay bar. He said it straight; yeah, without any inflection. Probably the same voice he used on his dad when asking for money or how come there isn’t any more toilet paper anywhere in the house. I’ve met the wonderful Mr. Peterson of Peterson and Sons Plumbing and you can’t imagine what might happen if some poor guy uttered the slightest lisp within a hundred feet of that bastard. Look up homophobic bastard in the dictionary and I’ll swear it’ll say, “4a—Mr. Guy Peterson of North Park, Washington.”
“What’s down there this time of year?” I asked. “And, why can’t you drive yourself?”
“Amtrak and I have to leave my car here,” he said. He did it, again. Leaving out the inflection, that is. I looked at him and suddenly he’s the straightest looking guy on campus. That cute little way he turns up his upper lip when he smiles was no where on his face and his hands weren’t limply lying about his body with wild abandon. I had to ask, so I did.
“My dad found out.”
“Yeah, I’m going back to Syracuse to live with my mother. He’ll be here in a couple hours.”
“Yeah, up my ass with a broom handle, most likely. After he beats me senseless so I don’t feel it.”
“Did you get a release from the school? What about your car? Oh, that’s right, your dad will take it. Is it in his name?”
“No, but you know my dad. A simple thing like paperwork won’t stop him from fucking up my life. Dean Chambers isn’t too happy about the situation, but he understands all too well. I guess his brother had the same father and he didn’t get away in time. He said he’ll help me with a transfer to whatever school I end up going to.”
“Man, this is the total shits.”
“Yeah, so can you, you know, drive me down there?”
“Yeah, I’d like to get out of here before he suddenly appears with a twenty-four inch pipe wrench.”
“Jimmy’s driving him over here.”
“Are you packed?”
David had a lot of shit, but most of it we took down to the Campus Mail Room and he shipped it. Plus, there’s only so much you can take on a train. I wondered why he wasn’t flying because Spokane is just as close as Wenatchee, but it turned out David doesn’t fly. I asked and he gave me a look that told me I’d better drop the subject if I wanted to keep my balls. You have to be careful with someone who’s been raised by a plumber because they know about hand tools that can do major damage to a body.
Then as we were leaving town, he tells me to head east toward Grand Coulee so we can cut south to Quincy and approach Wenatchee from that direction. I looked at him like he was acting crazy, but he gave his “you’d better do what I ask” look and I caved. Like I said, you don’t argue with someone who just might have a pipe wrench in his backpack. I knew why he didn’t want to head down US-97. That was the highway his dad would be coming up. I certainly didn’t want to referee a father-son beating, especially with David’s oldest brother on the sidelines holding the broom handle.
I don’t like driving in snow. There I said it. It was snowing when we left. Actually, it had been snowing for three days so the roads were a bit dicey. We were using major roads, but out in the Columbia Basin where nearly everybody drives four-wheel drive pickups or SUVs, my Civic was clearly out of its element and those pickups are so huge. I think those farmers actually enjoy tailgating at seventy miles an hour on two-lane blacktop with more curves than a Grand Prix track.
By the time we crossed US-2, I was ready for a shot of bourbon and I don’t drink hard stuff. David was calm, too calm. He wasn’t saying anything. He just sat quietly with his iPod plugged into his ears. I guess running for your life isn’t something you look forward to in the middle of your junior year in college.
We must have gone a hundred miles out of our way because what normally takes just over an hour took damned near three. There’s this little café and cocktail lounge on the other side of the tracks from the Amtrak station that everyone, wink wink, knows about so that’s where I headed when we got to Wenatchee. I figured a camouflaged gay bar was that last place Mr. Peterson was going to know about and we had nearly six hours until the David’s train was due, more than enough time for the bastard to figure out the fruit of his loins was no longer at Fort Okanogan and to come looking for us. He was certain to know David didn’t fly and Wenatchee was the closest Amtrak station; well, we could’ve gone to Spokane, but we didn’t.
“Do you want something to eat?” I asked as we settled into a booth over by the door to the kitchen. “It’s on me.”
“I suppose I’d better,” David said. He looked tired, worn out, scared to death of what might happen if he didn’t get away. “I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to get something on the train.”
“Well, hello, David,” the waitress said as she walked up to our booth with two menus, two small glasses of water, and more hair on her upper lip than Abraham Lincoln.
“Oh, hi, Darleen,” David said. He turned the inflection back on. His left hand did that slappy thing against his cheek. He batted his eyelashes at her. How can someone be so fucking embarrassing? I wanted to slide under the table and sneak out to my car.
“Is this your little brother?” Darleen asked, looking at me.
Okay, let’s get this out of the way. I’m everybody’s little brother. My dad is an even five foot. My mother checks in a little shorter at four foot eleven. My oldest brother is tall for our family at five foot four. I’ll never see five feet. We’re not little people, we’re small statured, there’s a difference.
It gets worse. There isn’t a lot of body hair in our genes. Other than a patch of peach fuzz on my upper lip and some on my chin, I don’t have a reason to have an electric razor. With my unruly mop of blond hair, I look maybe twelve, but closer to ten. I get carded buying bubblegum.
“This is my friend Donny Mitchell,” David said. He blew a kiss at me. “Say hi, Donny.”
“Hi Darleen, I’m pleased to meet you,” I said. Then I noticed Darleen wasn’t quite what she seemed. I suspected her name was closer to Darrell. I kissed her hand instead of shaking it. I didn’t see any reason not to give her any suspicions.
“Oh, that’s sweet,” Darleen said. “Why didn’t you tell me about Donny? He’s much nicer than you.”
“He’s not your type Darleen,” David said. He gave her that look of his. She must’ve seen it before because she turned and walked away in an exaggerated huff. She had a nice ass for a guy probably older than my dad.
“How come I’ve never seen her in here before?” I asked.
“She usually works the bar,” David said.
“Oh, yeah, you’re older,” I said. One of those quirks of cut-off dates. He was born in October, I was born in September, and we’re in the same year in school.
“What’re you having?”
“The chicken breast and cottage cheese, I have to watch my figure.”
“You’re not the only one watching your figure.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
David looked at me and he didn’t use that look. This was a leer, pure and simple. David and I have never ever gotten together for nothing more meaningful than coffee in the Union. We’ve studied together, gone to the GLBT meetings together, sat next to each other at Professor Mark’s Sunday afternoon teas, and even went to Spokane to see Brokeback Mountain together, but we’ve never so much as kissed and David is really cute, too. I mean of all the guys on campus David is probably the one I’d take to the prom, but we haven’t and I don’t know why.
“Well, if you don’t know,” David said, giving me that look, again, but not using that voice. Maybe he only used it for the public. I thought it was nice of him to turn it off for me.
“I do know,” I said. “I just didn’t think you knew.”
“Well, I’ve known for a long time.”
“So, why did you wait for the last few hours we’ll probably see each other for the foreseeable future?”
“Once you get on that train, I’m not going to see you ever again, probably, in all likelihood, ever.”
“Oh, yeah, well now you know.”
“Well, thanks for sharing.”
We didn’t talk much after that. We ordered our food and took a couple hours to eat it, but didn’t say much of anything. We just looked at each other. I think they call it ogling. Until that afternoon, I’d never seen someone eat a grilled ham and cheese sandwich so provocatively. He was so sexy. I wanted to go over to his side of the booth, but I didn’t.
I mean there was no future in doing anything with David this late in our budding love for each other. He was going away, way away, clear across the country to some place in New York I only knew about because there was a university there that played a mean game of basketball. There was so much to catch up on and no time to do it. It made me feel pretty bad, but at least I learned he liked me. That was something, at least.
We left the café and headed up into town. We still had at least three hours before we could go down to the station, so we just wandered around in the snow. It was so weird being with David and knowing how he felt about me. I wanted to go to some motel and get naked, but we didn’t have time and we had to be on the lookout for his crazy father. That was enough to throw cold water on any thoughts of hot rabid sex with that wonderful boy walking beside me. So we walked.
About an hour before the train was supposed to arrive we got back in my car and headed toward the train station. Just before we turned onto Kittitas I saw police cars blocking the road. They were checking cars headed toward the station. I kept going north on Mission. David looked at me. He didn’t have to say anything, I could tell he was scared.
“Would your father call the police?” I asked. I knew the answer, but I had to ask.
“He’d lie to the Pope to get at me,” David said.
“Okay, this is what we’re going to do,” I said. I laid out a plan for me to go down and check to see what was going on while David waited for me up town at a grocery store that had a deli where he could stay warm.
After dropping him off and making sure he wasn’t going to run off into the snowy night—David was that scared and I was worried he might do something stupid—I headed back down to the train station. Sure enough, the cops were checking cars for a guy fitting David’s description. I told them I was coming down to pick up my brother who was coming to Fort Okanogan for a campus visit; and, yes, I had to show them my driver’s license to prove I was old enough to drive.
I parked my car and walked toward the station. There were cops all over the place. I don’t know what David’s father told the police, but it looked to me like they thought David was som kind of heinous criminal or worse. I didn’t even see it coming.e
“You dirty faggot! Where’s my brother?” I was literally thrown up against a wall when I walked into the station. There was a hand around my neck and David’s older brother Jimmy’s face too close to mine. I’ve never feared for my life, but then I don’t go around openly proclaiming my sexuality. I’m out to those who need to know, like David, my family, and some of my friends like Ceddy, Rick, Butch, and Conny. I feared for my life. I was being choked by a mad man who sounded like he was more than willing to kill me to get to the truth.
“Hey! Let that boy go!” Well, I certainly wasn’t going to let the cop know I was twenty-one. Sometimes it’s best to let them think you’re twelve.
“He’s knows where David is,” Jimmy yelled at the cop and not letting me go.
“Let the boy go!” Another cop yelled while his partner applied enough physical force to pull Jimmy off me. Guns weren’t drawn, but I suspected they could be at any moment.
I crumpled to the floor trying to catch my breath. A cop kneeled down beside me. He didn’t look all that friendly.
“Do you know David Peterson?” he asked.
“Yeah, he’s lives in the same dorm as me,” I said.
“You go to Fort Okanogan?”
“Yes, I’m twenty-one. Do you want to see my driver’s license?”
“Where’s the faggot?” Mr. Peterson yelled from somewhere across the room.
“What are you doing here?” the cop asked.
“I came to pick up my brother. He’s coming over for a campus visit.”
“Do you know where David Peterson is?”
“What’s he done?”
“Why you stupid little faggot!” Mr. Peterson yelled as he picked me up and threw me up against the wall, knocking me unconscious.
I woke up on a stretcher with a paramedic hovering over me. I was inside an ambulance. Then I remembered David and was worried too much time had gone by and he’d done something stupid like coming down here looking for me.
“Uh, can I get up?” I asked.
“Just lie there quietly for a little bit,” the paramedic said. She looked nice, kind of like a girl David would know. She probably did, too.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“They haven’t found him yet.”
“David Peterson, he killed his older brother James.”
“Oh, shit! I told him not to come down here. When did he do that?”
“This afternoon when his father and brother went to Fort Okanogan to meet him about some family situation.”
“But, Jimmy threw me up against the wall when I walked into the station.”
“Jimmy is alive and tried to kill me here.”
“Just a minute, I’ll be right back.”
At that moment I hoped she hadn’t heard me say that I knew David was in Wenatchee. I mean, if the Petersons were lying about David killing Jimmy, I certainly didn’t want to compound the situation by implying I’d been lying, too. Police get kind of testy when they run into a pack of liars and things might get out of hand if they thought it wasn’t only the Petersons were giving them a load of bull.
“How’re you feeling?” the policeman from the station asked me when he came into the ambulance.
“Kind of dizzy,” I said. “What’s this about David killing Jimmy? You pulled Jimmy off me earlier. How can he be dead?”
“What do you mean? James Peterson is dead.”
“Well, I’m going to press charges against that guy who threw me up against the wall, including his father, so when you get around to ID’ing him you’re going to find out James Peterson is alive and mean as hell.”
It took them about five minutes to get the Petersons rounded up and sitting uncomfortably in the backseats of a couple cruisers with their hands cuffed behind them. They looked absolutely disgruntled. Their plan backfired in their faces and they were going to be able to spend a few more hours in Wenatchee than they planned.
“Can I go now?” I asked the policeman who helped me.
“We appreciate it if you came down to the station and made a statement,” he said.
“You know, I think you guys want them a lot more than I do,” I said. “If you don’t mind, I’d rather we just forget I had anything to do with their little fiasco.”
“Don’t like them, huh?”
“No, I didn’t like them the first time I met them and I don’t like them now. I don’t why they think I’m gay because I certainly never told them or gave them any reason to think that.”
“I think they just hate too well. Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah, I just want to get out of here.”
I saw David turn the corner at Mission when I came up the hill from the station. He was walking very slowly as if he was trying to appear inconspicuous. I pulled over to the curb and he got in.
“Where’ve you been?” he asked.
“Tangling with your brother and father,” I said.
“Your father told the police you killed Jimmy and were trying to get out of town on the train.”
“Needless to say they didn’t get away with it. You’re safe. Now you don’t have to go to New York.”
“Are you joking? They aren’t going to let me get away with this. As soon as they’re out of jail they’ll come looking for me. You don’t know them. Why do you think my mother lives in New York around her family?”
“So, how’re getting to New York?”
“I don’t know. I’ve still got all my clothes so I could take the bus, I guess.”
“Four or five days on a bus, plus go through Chicago?”
“What else am I going to do?”
“Well, I could drive you.”
“I could drive you.”
And, so that’s why we went back to Fort Okanogan that night. I needed clothes for the trip. It was after midnight by the time we checked into a motel out by the airport in Spokane. I think I was out before David because I didn’t even feel him crawl into bed next to me.