Mike and Danny: Straight Crush
OK, it was Saturday night supper and the three of us consumed most of that pot of vegetable soup. The day had turned gray and gloomy like we'd get spoiled if we had too much promise of spring. Soup kind of took your mind off it.
Soon as we got done, Mike set a chair in the middle of the kitchen floor, invited Virgil to sit on it, wrapped a bed sheet around him and got out his clippers to give the boy a haircut.
I thought Virgil might object, preferring to trust his hair to an actual barberas you and I would. But he didn't seem to have the slightest doubt in Mike's ability. Either that or he just didn't care that much what he looked like.
There was a third possibility that didn't occur to me until later. He simply liked Mike.
"How do you want this, Tiger?" Mike said, a long barber's comb stuck behind his ear.
"Anything," Virgil said. "Just not bald."
"Don't worry. I'll leave you some," Mike said and switched on the electric clippers.
Soon the curls of Virgil's hair began falling into the folds of the white sheet, and from there onto the floor. Before long the back of his neck appeared, and with his head bent forward, he looked suddenly tender and exposed.
Then his ears emerged as Mike steadily swept the clippers along the length of the comb. And eventually you could see the shape of Virgil's head, no longer a formless woolly confusion rising up from his shoulders. I thought of shearing sheep and the surprise of discovering their angular bodies under the shaggy rugs they'd been walking around in only a few minutes before.
Then Mike went to work with the scissors, and in the quiet after he'd turned off the clippers there was the sound of him snip-snip-snipping. And Virgil sat with his eyes closed, the forlorn look he'd been wearing now gone. Under Mike's hands, grasping fringe after fringe of hair between his fingers as he trimmed, then brushing away the clippings, Virgil's face relaxed into a smile of contentment.
I wondered, considering his storyand the fate of anyone like himhow long he had gone without a loving touch. For the moment, he was a happy man, and hidden under the folds of the bed sheet, I guessed he was getting a hard-on.
The two boys, Brian and Virgil, had never spoken again of their fathers and had never spent another night in Virgil's bed. It was as though that night had never happened.
Life went on, one season of baseball after another until it was graduation, and Virgil found himself going to college, simply because that's where Brian was going. They'd take the same classes, go out for baseball, and it would be just like high school. Nothing changed. Except that they'd be roommates now and spend every night together.
Which was good and not so good. After lights out, Virgil lay snug in his bed knowing that just a few feet across the room Brian was doing the samenever again any lonely tossing and turning, his heart aching and so empty that sleep would not come.
But the closeness turned out to be a problem. It was not close enough. He could lose just as much sleep with yearning to close the distance between them, his body burning with desire.
He'd watch the glowing hands of his clock until finally after midnight he'd lapse into something like a coma, waking again in the groggy morning to the sound of the alarm, and Brian yelling at him to shut it off. Then getting out of bed, he'd find his briefs encrusted with the dried aftermath of a mighty wet dream. I had found a couple of these in his duffel bag when I did his laundry.
For his part, Brian seems to have done more than enough to provoke this response. Sitting beside Virgil at his desk to help him with his math or history, or leaning over his shoulder, he'd be in his underwear, his long dick filling the front of his jockeys.
Virgil could feel the warmth of Brian's body as they drew closer together, one of Brian's arms behind Virgil on the back of his chair, nudging him or patting him now and then as they paused over problems or made progress.
Always focused on the assignment, Brian never seemed to notice that when Virgil drew a blank, it was because his whole attention was on the way Brian was holding a pencil to write, or tapping the page of an open text book to make a point, or turning a page. And forget the movements of that hand to absently rub his chest as he talked, pick jellybeans out of a jar to pop into his mouth, or worse yet reach between his legs to scratch himself.
Most of all, when Brian hadn't showered since morning, there was the sweet-sharp smell of his Right Guard mixed with his sweat. It was this heady combination that got Virgil rummaging in Brian's laundry, when Brian was in his honors mythology class on Tuesdays and Thursdays after lunch.
Virgil would head back to their dorm room, lock the door, and finding a tee shirt, bury his face in it, lying on his bed, feeling calm waves of an indescribable pleasure wash over him.
In time he was discovering the milky funk of Brian's socks, and when he could resist no longer, there were his briefs, which inhaled deeply had a damp, earthy tang that swept him into a kind of heavenly euphoria. Without really thinking one day, he stripped off all his clothes and put on a pair of them.
The strength of the erection that suddenly sprang up in them was so fiercehe'd been mostly hard to start withhis penis stretched the front of the briefs right out away from his belly, and for a moment he thought he might come without even touching himself.
With that, the doorknob rattled, and then there was the sound of a key in the lock. Brian was back early from class. And in the seconds he had, Virgil grabbed his jeans and pulled them on over the briefs, struggling with the zipper and his hard-on just as Brian burst into the room.
He was full of some story of how he had aced a pop quiz in his class, and he noticed nothing as Virgil got dressed again, taking the precaution of leaving his shirttails out to hide the bulge in his jeans.
Then, listening to Brian, he became aware that the erection he was hiding involved a fact that would be hard to explain. It had taken up residence in a pair of Brian's very own shorts. Now he was trying to hide a grin that had started to creep across his face.
"What's so funny?" Brian finally said.
"Nothin'," Virgil said, grinning even more.
And from that afternoon on, Virgil used Tuesdays to borrow what he could from Brian's laundry and Thursdays to return it. Those days and nights between were warm with the secret he kept from his roommate, the distance between them reduced to zero as his balls nestled warm and snug in the very space that had already been home to Brian's.
There were other parts of Virgil's story I knew from Barry that he never told us. In fact, Barry didn't get a mention at all. It was as if Virgil was more reluctant to disclose this about himself than a one-sided love affair with another guy.
Well, love affair is my word for it. What would he call it? They were just buddies, right? A hard-on didn't change that. Not all by itself. That's what I'm guessing anyway.
"Go look at yourself in the mirror," Mike said, when the haircut was done, taking the bed sheet from around him, revealing him in the clothes I'd given him, his hands clasped together in his lap.
He opened his eyes, discovering the tufts of his hair scattered around him on the floor, and he stood up stepping gingerly through them.
In the bathroom, he studied himself, turning his head this way and that, like he couldn't believe he was the same person.
"What do you think?" Mike said standing in the doorway. "I can take off more."
"No," Virgil said. "I like it just the way you did it." And his eyes, smiling, met Mike's in the mirror.
"How do you like the sideburns?" Mike said. I knew from how he fussed over his own that they were meant to be a feature of the haircut.
"I like 'em good," Virgil said. And I guessed the reason why was that they were just like Mike's.
Later I'd brought two baskets of his laundry to the back bedroom, where I kind of hoped he'd make more of an effort to stay put through the night. He came in from the shower, his new hair wet, and a damp bath towel wrapped around him. I caught the smell of Mike's Skin Bracer and saw that he had given himself a shave.
He fished in one basket for some underwear and changed into it. He stood naked for a moment shaking out the tee shirt and finding the label in the neck before pulling it over his head.
I had a chance to check out his Little Chief, and I thought of the yearning that concentrated there. And for what he may have only half understoodthe touch of someone else to fill him to overflowing, at least for a moment, with the feeling of being wanted.
Some socks and his jock had fallen out of one laundry basket. "I washed your jock," I said, as he stepped into a pair of briefs. "I hope that's not bad luck or anything."
"Bad luck?" he laughed. "No. That's not one of my game jocks anyway."
"You have more than one?"
"Yeah," he said, looking at me like I was born yesterday. But he didn't explain.
"You know how to iron a shirt?" I said, figuring I'd even the odds with that one.
I had already put them in a pile. "I'll show you how tomorrow." Then I demonstrated how to sort out his socks into pairs and fold the rest of his clothes, which he observed and practiced like there would be a test afterwards. While I obviously didn't know anything about jocks, I seemed to be good for something.
"Has somebody else been doing your laundry?" I asked him.
"Yeah," he said, putting a tee shirt on a stack he'd started, tucking in one of the sleeves. And after a pause he said, "Brian."
"Oh" was all I said.
When we were almost done, he opened the duffel bag (I'd washed that, too) and carefully put all his clean clothes in it. I was folding up the last pair of jeans.
"These kinda got a tear in a bad place," I said. "Did you know that?"
"Yeah, I guess."
We looked at it together, the denim separated in two neat rips just about where his left testicle would come to rest when he sat down. He shook his head sadly.
"I could show you how to mend that," I said. It was one of the household arts Mike had taught me.
"It's not queer to know how to do this," Mike had said, threading a needle. "It's just something being queer you need to know."
Virgil looked at me like all he thought I cared about was reading novels and correcting comma splices, and he seemed to be revising his estimate of me.
"Yes, sir. I'd like that," he said. And I took the "sir" as a sign that if I hadn't gained points, at least I wasn't losing them.
I folded the jeans and left them on top of the duffel bag. He was sitting on the bed, looking I have to admit almost handsome. Thanks to Mike's haircut, he could turn a head or two walking across campus, and I wished for his sake it would be somebody who'd be the faithful friend he so fiercely wanted.
"Ask you a question?" he said.
"You and Mike are good friends, aren't you," he said. "I mean, you sort of live together."
I nodded. This was not a conversation I wanted to be having with a student. I wasn't sure what Virgil could be trusted to do with whatever I told him.
And there was always that other dreaded conversation in the back of my mind, with my department chairman or the dean. The one that starts, "I've been hearing troubling reports about you and your students."
But, lest you think otherwise, I'm not totally at the mercy of my paranoia. I can see sometimes when keeping my mouth shut is not in someone's best interest. Even a loose cannon like Virgil.
So I confirmed what he already could tell about Mike and me. We werewell, more than friends.
He frowned then, though not in disapproval, and pulled the heel of one foot up between his legs, tucking it snug into his crotch. He was thinking.
I'd been standing, and I sat down now on the end of the bed. I wanted him to feel what I had let myself feel, that it was OK for us to be talking like this.
His eyes lifted to mine, sad again. "It's not very fair, is it?
"What?" I asked.
"If a guy has a girlfriend, they can have sex."
"Yes, I've heard that," I said, trying to lighten the weight that was descending over the conversation. But I quickly began to see that I didn't understand what he was really driving at.
"But what can he do when his best friend is another guy?" Virgil said, the palms of his hands opening in front of him on the blanket. "What do you and Mike do?"
I saw that it had fallen to me, for the first time ever, to give a lesson in sex education. No, I thought, not me. Please not me.
Then I did the best I could, realizing that what I said would surely strike more deeply than anything I ever had to tell him about reading novels or comma splices.
He listened, eyes widening, as Iwell, as I described his options. I knew for the first time what it must be like for a father to shed light on this subject for a son, though unlike your average teenager, this was a case of starting with almost a blank slate. Virgil had neither preconceptions, misconceptions, or even conceptions.
I say "almost" because he had heard of blowjobs, at least I assumed so when he said, "You mean it's really putting the other guy's cock in your mouth and sucking on it?"
His gaze drifted away from me at that point, and I could tell he was considering the idea of it.
"What if the other guyyou know," he said and made a gesture upward from his crotch that could also have described a skyrocket.
"Well, you can swallow it," I said, "if you feel like it."
"No shit," he said. He fell backward on the bed like the amazement was too much for him. Then he sat bolt upright again, effortlessly. I thought he must have steel bands for abdominals.
"What's it like?" he wanted to know. "It must be unbelievable," he said, answering his own question. And he looked at me with an eager grin on his face, like he was fired up and ready to try out what he'd just learned.
I had no idea what visions were dancing in his head, but I was willing to guess. And something made me think of that movie with Mickey Mouse, who learns how to make a broom carry a bucket of water and then has to be rescued from all the trouble it gets him into. Moral: a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
"Whatever you're thinking," I said, "you want to give it some time."
But I could tell that was exactly what he didn't want.
"Would Mike do it if I asked him?" he suddenly said.
Holy shit, I thought. What have I done?
"You want your first time to be with someone you know well," I said, trying for a cautionary tone. "Someone you really care about. You know, love."
I don't actually believe this (it wasn't the case with me certainly, and I can't see that it did me any harm), but throwing the L-word around like that, I thought it would give him pause, throw some cold water over his enthusiasm before he got carried away.
"But I love Mike," he said. And I realized I should have seen that one coming.
So I had to explain to him that Mike and I werewell, yeahkind of a couple. There was the way that Priscilla had imprinted that notion on my romance-wary psyche with the picture she took of the two of us, and then had it framed in Valentine red. "We only have sex with each other," I said.
"You do?" he said, like that thought would never have occurred to him. "Then you're like," he searched for a word, "married?" A puzzled expression had crossed his face.
"Not exactly. You don't have to be married to be," now I was searching for a word, "faithful."
He looked down at the patchwork pattern between us. "I guess I don't know much about that." Maybe he was thinking of his fatherand Brian's father. And maybe of Brian, too.
He lay back again on the bed, this time with a sad kind of resignation. Someone had given him tickets to ride the merry-go-round, but now the carnival had left town.
He pulled his heel away from his crotch and extended his leg on the bed so that his foot rested now against my knee. I waited a moment and then put my hand on his ankle. There wasn't the slightest response from him. He was suddenly lost in his misery, and our touching meant nothing to him.
I was back to being taken for granted.
"Mike gave you a good haircut," I said, and though I should have stopped with that, I added, "Maybe Brian will give you a second look when you get back to school."
"Yeah, sure," he said bitterly.
I got up then and left him there, wondering when I would learn not to put my foot in my mouth.
In the kitchen, I found Mike sitting at the table, reading the newspaper. He'd laid it flat out and was leaning over it, smoothing the pages down with one hand. I stood behind him for a moment looking at the slope of his broad shoulders, the way his shirt was tucked into the back of his jeans, and how they pulled away from his waist in back as he bent forward.
I'd glanced down the back of those jeans many times finding always, depending on the season, an interesting configurationsometimes just the elastic of his white boxers against his skin or nothing at all but skin and the beginnings of the crack between his butt cheeks.
In the humid heat of a summer day I'd dropped crushed ice from a cooler into that gap, and he'd jumped up and chased me around the yard with a cold bottle of beer, finally cornering me, laughing, and emptying it over my head and down the front of my shirt.
This, of course, escalated over a period of time. Washing the Camaro and his truck the next Sunday, I poured a bucket of soapy water over him, and a few days later, we got to wrestling out by the barn, and he dunked me in the horse trough.
I stood behind him now at the table and bent over him, putting one of my arms around him and pressing my face against his neck, while he kept on reading and I slipped my other hand down the back of his jeans.
"How's Virgil doing?" he said.
"He wants you to have sex with him."
He chuckled. "Tell him he'll have to get in line."
Then it was quiet for a while, and I closed my eyes, thinking of fathers and sons and best friends and being faithful. I'd never thought much about that word, and I realized that in my thirty years I'd seen very little of itand that what I knew of it I'd learned from Mike. Mr. Faithful himself.
Later, as we sat in the TV room, half asleep, watching some old Henry Fonda movie and eating popcorn, we heard Rusty start barking outside and the sound of someone with a bad muffler driving onto the place from the road.
"You expecting someone, Tiger?" Mike said to Virgil, who was sprawled on the floor.
Virgil rolled onto his side, looking at us, and shook his head.
"Bud?" he asked me. And I knew he was just too content where he was in his La-Z-Boy to get up and find out who it was for himself.
"Kinda late," I said, feeling no intention to move either. I was sure it was one of his old friends from the dairy who liked to drop in out of the blue and shoot the bull with him sometimes for hours.
By now we could hear the door slam with that big, hollow sound you get with a pickup, and in a few more moments there were footsteps already on the porch and someone was coming into the kitchen.
Then we heard them say, "Anybody home?"
"We're in here," Mike called out.
And after the thump of boot heels across the kitchen linoleum, a figure appeared in the doorway to the TV room, standing in a denim jacket and worn jeans, a cowboy hat, and a wide grin under a Fu Manchu moustache.
"Well, look what the cat drug in," Mike said.
It was Kirk.
Continued . . .