The story of Dan is fictional and depicts sex between teenage boys, and between those boys and adults of both genders. If you are under legal age, or reading such material in the jurisdiction where you live is illegal, please leave now. If you have a moral problem with reading such material, you have been warned.

The following story is pure fiction. It was originally written in 1986 or thereabouts, and was inspired by a number of incidents in my life which I would like to explain briefly.

The first incident was one that touched me deeply. I was living in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada), and at the time working very long hours. I had just left my office in downtown Halifax late one night - probably about 11 PM or so and was headed home. I came to a fairly well lighted bus stop and noticed a young boy standing there. I thought to myself "how odd, a kid that young waiting for a bus so late." I wasn't even sure the buses ran that late!

Suddenly the boy ran into the street, almost directly in front of my car, so I had to stop or swerve to avoid hitting him. I stopped, deciding on the spur of the moment to offer him a ride to wherever he was going. That's a no-no in our society, but I was thinking more of that kid being alone late at night. I supposed he had been at a movie or something and had missed his bus. As soon as he was in the car he looked around and said "You're not a cop, are you?" The car was a Chevy Caprice Classic, with tinted windows all around, a CB radio under the dash and a microphone hanging predominantly just below the dash vents. There was a small switch panel I had added to control the transmission overdrive manually, the constant-on headlights, and one or two gadgets I don't even remember now. Yeah, I'm into gadgets. I guess it did look something like a detective's car. I assured him that I was not any sort of police but just wanted to offer him a ride home. At this he got quite excited, it seemed, and started asking me questions about my car, myself, my REAL reason for picking him up.

It took a little bit of verbal dancing around before I realized what was going on. Most of you have probably already figured it out, but I was astonished. He was a hustler, selling his body to any and all! If I'd thought about it I would probably have known such people existed, but I just had never thought about it. He told me he saw me looking at him and when we made eye contact he concluded that I was a trick.

I did hire the boy that night, but not for sex. Oliver (his name, believe it or not) had completely intrigued me and my curiosity overcame my better judgment. I wanted to know all about his lifestyle, how he got started, how things worked, etc. So I offered him his fee, $20.00 if I remember correctly, with the understanding that there would be no sex, just talk. He accepted indifferently saying "No problem, makes no difference to me."

"Makes no difference?" Damn! He evidently had no concept of meaningful sex! I asked him how old he was to which he answered 18. I said No Way, Oliver! He finally conceded to 16, but I later found out he was only 14. I drove to a McDonald's that I knew would be open, got him a burger and fries and a drink, and we sat and talked.

He told me that he'd been raped by his father when he was 8, and that his father had died shortly after, leaving Oliver and his older brother Sam to fend for themselves. Oliver told me he believed that's why he was gay: that his father had raped him. I don't know if he believed that or not, but I certainly don't believe it's possible to "make" someone gay, or straight for that matter. As a matter of fact, I have spent most of my life trying to "make" myself straight, but it simply hasn't worked. We are what we are!

The brothers had been put in foster homes, separate ones, but they had run away so they could be together. His brother was old enough to rent a dingy apartment so that's what they did, and both boys had been hustling to pay expenses. By this time he said he'd been on the streets for about 3 years, had a pretty serious drug habit, but seemingly had no remorse, no regrets, really no emotion of any kind.

I told him about my son, then 15. I described his life, how he was a great kid but incredibly spoiled! He had his own motorbike, his own boat and motor (we lived on a lake), snowmobile, was into archery and rifle target shooting, was always going hunting, fishing, camping, water skiing, and so on. I told him about evenings at home, helping the kids with homework, singing around the piano, all things I and my family valued so much. I asked him if he wouldn't prefer a lifestyle like that, but the concepts I was telling him about were so totally alien to him he saw no benefit to living that way! He said his "freedom" was far more important to him than any of the things I had described. I had already decided that I would try to find a home for him, maybe even my own! But he wanted no part of it.

I was totally fascinated by this new culture that I hadn't even known existed. Over the next few weeks I sought out and hired two more hustlers, each with the understanding up front that there would be no sex, just information sharing. I was astonished at how many there were on the streets, if one only took the trouble to look. Some of them were very good looking, clean and attractive; others were dirty, sexually about as appealing as a circus elephant. But all of them, it seemed, had no problem making a decent living and feeding their drug habits by dropping their pants and allowing their clients to do whatever.

The second incident occurred one winter day in 1986. I had been traveling a lot and so had Kenny. If you don't know who Kenny is I suggest you read about him on the Nifty Archive in the series called, what else? "Kenny!" We had been meeting on our business trips for several years now and had managed to get together every few weeks, usually in Toronto. But during that winter we had missed connections several times, so that it had been several months since we'd met. On this particular trip I was going to be in Toronto for two weeks, but Kenny wasn't going to be there. We had agreed to meet in the airport, I arriving and he leaving, if only to shake hands, possibly share a discreet hug, and see each other; but alas my plane was late and he was gone by the time I got there.

Things had been a little tense at home, as often happens in a family situation. So when I found myself alone in my hotel room, I started getting depressed. I have always found Canadian winters depressing anyway, which is why I moved to the South as soon as I could. I started wondering what it would be like if I'd lived my life differently; if I'd chosen one course and stuck to it. I had my laptop with me, IBM's first model: slow as molasses, no hard drive, black and white screen, no Windows, but only a naked DOS screen; but it was a computer and portable! There had to be some perks to being IBM's branch PC specialist: I got to play with all the latest puter stuff!

One of my tasks as PC Specialist was to evaluate and familiarize myself with the newest and greatest software so I could demonstrate it to prospects or evaluate its usefulness on IBM PC's. The one I was currently working on was Displaywrite III, IBM's "last word" in word processors. So how do you learn a word processor? Simple really, you process words! But how does one come up with a large document right out of the blue?

I thought about Oliver, my curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to write a story exploring the different options I'd had available when I was a teenager. Sounds silly but hey, it was a way to pass the time and also complete an assignment. So this story was written as a sort of experiment, allowing me to re-live my life in someone else's shoes.

I rented a car and went cruising (bad choice of words???) downtown Toronto. I visited a couple of gay bars, one of which was called appropriately the St. Charles Tavern. It didn't take me long to learn where the hustlers hung out and I went there. There were dozens of them, just standing around the street, leaning in doorways, against light poles, trying to keep warm. I hired one, then another. The fees were a little stiffer here (Thanks IBM for the subsidy that never appeared on any of my expense accounts, even though they were there), and they actually had a pay scale, depending on what the client wanted. The more intense the scene, or the more risky, the higher the cost. Again I didn't use their services, but gleaned what information I could. The second boy I hired said he was 19, a more or less middle class high school student in his last year and just did this to make extra money. Again I was surprised.

The third blew me away (NOT literally) again, and inspired the direction of this story. He was very good looking, too clean and well dressed to be a street kid. It turned out he was a student at University of Toronto, and had discovered that his body was a very good source of income. But he was different: he worked hard at reducing the risk to a minimum, seldom worked the streets but responded to repeat clients who would phone him at his apartment. On this particular night he told me things had been a little slow and he got bored, so he was on the street. After our talk he asked me to drive him to his car. Car? Oh yeah! A little red Alpha Romeo! This kid had obviously figured out the system and was making it work for him.

I would be lying if I tried to tell you that I wasn't tempted to get full value for my money, so I decided my best course of action was to get back to the hotel before I saw some really cute guy and went for it! My resistance in such situations has always been a problem. So I started writing. The following is what I wrote that winter. If you have read Kenny you will see some similarities, but basically this story is fiction, based on both personal experiences and inner thoughts.

Since writing the above prologue I have read another story on Nifty called "My Fifteenth Year", a story I found very moving. I kept seeing myself in the boy in the story, knowing full well that but for all the support I received at that age, "My Fifteenth Year" may well have been MY story!

For anyone reading this who is a teen and trying to deal with what being Gay is all about, is thinking that running away is an option, believe "My Fifteenth Year," not this one! This one is pure fiction and highly improbable. I don't know if the other is truth or not, but when a kid hits the streets it is highly unlikely that what I am about to present would ever come to pass. In other words, "Don't try this at home!"

The log cabin I mention in Chapter 1 is real. My son and I spent many happy nights there after we'd found it. There is a law in Nova Scotia, one of few these days it seems that makes perfect sense: If you build a camp in a wilderness area in Nova Scotia, you are obliged by law to leave it unlocked or easily accessible so that anyone lost in the woods can use it for shelter without having to break in. I have always loved the outdoors, and Kevin my son was and is even more that way. I never had a sexual experience in that camp, but the thought occurred to me several times how great it would be. I always thought it would be nice to take Kenny there but it never happened.

Some of the characters I will introduce are fragments and composites of others I have met in my life. But they are all fictional in the sense of what they did, who they were.

When I wrote this story thirteen years ago, I used a now obsolete word processor called "DisplayWrite III." In converting it to my current processor I have added and deleted here and there, but the main theme remains the same. Hopefully you will get it without my telling you.

Here, then, is the story of Dan.

Dan Chapter 1

The Hunting Trip

The four boys had been driving for about two hours. Joe and Charlie were just sixteen; Dan and Bill, fifteen and seventeen respectively. They had borrowed Bill's father's pickup truck and were going hunting rabbits. There was a camp back in the woods that Charlie and his father had discovered four years ago. It was a log cabin, very clean and well kept. It didn't seem like it had been used much because it was sort of out-of-the-way, so Charlie and his dad had used it frequently. Of course that was before all the turmoil in Charlie's life with his mother becoming terminally ill, his father finding a girl friend, and Charlie and his father having a serious falling out. But now the four friends would be staying there tonight.

"How much further?" asked Dan. Of course he was the "little kid" of the group, and Bill and Joe did no small amount of teasing about that.

Dan and Charlie had been best friends for several years, and the other boys tolerated Dan because they knew that where Charlie went, Dan went. Charlie himself had never really been part of the "in" group, wasn't that interested in sports or all the other macho boy things. It was no secret that the only reason Charlie was on this trip was that he was the only one who knew where the camp was, and the only reason Dan was there was that Charlie wouldn't come without him. But here they were anyway, all four excited with the anticipation of the weekend to come.

"Almost there," Charlie answered, then to Bill he added, "There's the turn off, up there on the right." They bounced the old pickup over the wood road until they came to where they had to walk the rest of the way.

"This is gonna be great!" Dan asserted excitedly, his dark brown eyes shining. "I've never been camping before except with my folks and the Boy Scouts."

"Well," Joe answered with a condescending tone, "You're in the big time now. There aren't any little kids here, that is except for you."

"Lay off him," Charlie reminded him, "Remember, we agreed that we wouldn't have invited Dan if we hadn't wanted him along." That got a look of mild irritation from Joe and one of appreciation from Dan.

It took the boys almost two hours to walk the half mile to the camp. They were heavily laden with their back packs, sleeping bags, food and of course, .22 rifles. They stopped here and checked for signs of rabbits, stopped there and fired a few shots at a tree with a round spot on it, inspected a few last year's snares, and generally enjoyed being "on our own" on a hunting trip. There were several incidents of an imagined bear or other ferocious animal that needed to be shot at, enhanced greatly by the vivid boyhood imagination of four enthusiastic teens. It was as if these imaginations sensed that they were dying a rapid death as four boys turned into men; so today it was like a last glorious fling into the incredibly delicious fantasy world of a small boy; a world where anything was possible: dragons, mountain lions, Tasmanian devils all inhabited these woods this afternoon.

By the time they had fought their way through this imaginary wilderness fraught with danger and arrived at the camp it was starting to get dark. They could feel the chill in the air as the November sun disappeared in the west in a blaze of red. They were glad to get in the camp and start to get organized for the night. Neither Charlie nor Dan were too enthusiastic about killing things, and now Charlie thought to himself the best part of the trip was the camp, and that hunting was just a good excuse to come here.

The boys got a fire going and then cooked a supper of wieners and beans. They joked about how they had to double up in bed because there were only two beds in the camp, speculating on how they would fart each other right through the roof after eating all those beans. After supper they cleaned up, Bill got out some cigarette tobacco and papers, and they all had a hand at rolling their own. None of them smoked normally, but this was a special occasion and they thought it only right that "we men" smoke some "hand crankers" at the camp. They sat around the stove, smoking and telling dirty jokes as boys like to do, and talking of their various imaginary exploits with the girls at school. Dan had been following Charlie around like a little dog, and now he had positioned himself next to his friend by the stove. Charlie noticed that his eyes were bulging as they talked about getting bedded and fondling the Girls. "I didn't know all the girls did that," Dan said with amazement.

"When you grow up," Bill said, "you're in for a lot of surprises." Charlie noticed with amusement that Dan's eyes were not all that were bulging, but then he himself was becoming aroused too.

By now it was pitch dark outside and the boys decided to go to bed early. They zipped the four sleeping bags together to make two large ones and spread one out on each bed. "We ought to undress down to our underwear," Bill suggested, "So we can make the most of each other's body heat."

"You're right," Charlie agreed, "It's gonna be cold in here before morning." Charlie and Bill were the self appointed camping experts, having had more trips to the wild than the other two. They had one last smoke and crawled into bed. There was no discussion about who would sleep with whom. Dan was more Charlie's friend than anyone else's, and Charlie sort of looked out for him like a little brother. The two had been inseparable friends for almost ten years; they had played hockey and basketball together, shared in the building of models, and just plain liked to be together. Dan was almost as tall as Charlie, but the year's difference in their ages, and the fact that Charlie had arrived at that magic age of sixteen and had his driver's license, made Dan seem much younger.

They had met when they were six. As is the case so many times, the occurrence of their birthdays was such that Charlie had started school a year earlier. Now one of the "big kids" in the second grade, Charlie rounded the corner of the school one day to see several of his friends teasing one of the new first grade boys. He was dressed, as usual, in spotlessly clean white shorts and a light colored shirt; except that the shorts and shirt were both soiled and muddy, evidence that he had been on the ground. The first thing Charlie had noticed was the big brown eyes, now filled with tears as the other boys tormented their victim. To Charlie, those eyes reminded him of a defenseless animal being victimized by some predator, and he'd had no choice but to intervene. He'd seen this scene played out many times before, and although he had never participated, he'd been content to just walk away. But not this time! There was something in little Danny's face, he had no idea what, but he found himself getting into the middle before he even thought about it.

Charlie had spotted little Danny the very first week of school. First thing he noticed was how immaculately dressed he always was... always! He noticed the longish blond hair, which was a bit unusual for a boy in 1955. Not that it bothered Charlie. Even at six, going on seven, he appreciated the wavy locks and understood why this kid's parents hadn't cut it shorter. He noticed the fine features; the tiny ears and ginormous soft brown eyes; he noted with envy the long slender fingers on Danny's still tiny hands. Odd, you say, for a six year old to notice all these things? Probably. But perhaps odder still is what Charlie felt. He didn't begin to understand it, but he knew, absolutely knew, that there was something about this kid that had affected him profoundly. He knew at six years old that this stranger in the first grade gave him feelings that no one else ever had. There was absolutely no question in little seven year old Charlie's mind that he would get closer to this beautiful creature. He didn't know how, didn't even know why; but he knew. Had he had a choice, he probably would've chosen a different time, a different place; but destiny doesn't usually give us a choice, does it?

Coming to the rescue of a little kid, at the expense of his friends, wasn't exactly the "cool" way to behave, but Charlie didn't care. He remembered himself being the victim last year and he couldn't bear to just leave, so he stepped between Dan and his assailants, telling them that old familiar phrase, "Go pick on somebody your own size!" Charlie himself had hardly earned a reputation as a fighter, but his stand nevertheless discouraged the others. Dan seemed to sense the sacrifice his benefactor had just made, and they had instantly became friends.

As the years flew by, the pair became as close as any two brothers. They played hockey and basketball together, at least every other year. Once more, their birthdays dictated that their ages were categorized as one year apart, so that one year, Charlie would be in his second year of a league and Dan in his first; the following year Charlie would be moved up, while Dan remained to take over Charlie's role as senior. When they were together on the ice they played left and right wing. Though they were never really great, it was an accepted fact that Dan and Charlie always played the same line, always worked together. The same thing happened in basketball, baseball, Sunday School; everything, it seemed, that they did together. And they did everything together.

During weekends, and in the summer, the pair were constantly together. It seemed that they just didn't fit in really well with the other kids, preferring to spend their days fishing, building models, reading, or just drinking in the beauty of the woods, the fields, the world around them.

Truro, Nova Scotia is a small town; consequently a short bicycle ride could and did have the boys in the woods, where they spent much of their time. They had an understanding, Charlie and Dan. They loved life and all it had to offer, and had no time for socializing, especially that part of so many boys' activities that included having fun at the expense of someone or something else. They loved each other too, but they had never thought of their relationship as love. Theirs was a pretty typical bond between two growing boys, albeit perhaps a little more special, a little more devoted than most.

The four boys talked and laughed and joked for a while, but eventually the fresh air and tiring walk took their toll and one by one they quieted down, their slow steady breathing a sure sign that they were asleep. Dan had already started to feel cold and was snuggled up to Charlie like a little puppy dog. Charlie couldn't help thinking how warm and nice it felt to have someone so close and trusting, even if it was another boy barely a year younger than himself. He found himself suddenly aching desperately to throw his arms around Danny and hug him, but that was hardly a way for a teenage boy to act.

Charlie hadn't had a lot of affection since his mother had died when he was twelve, and now he lay there enjoying being so close to Dan. In many ways Dan was more like a little brother than just a friend, and Charlie often fantasized that they were indeed brothers. And in his fantasies he and Dan always shared, not only a room, but a bed too. Nothing more, because believe it or not, Charlie at 16 still wasn't aware that there was anything more between boys; but Charlie from an early age seemed to have a need to be physically close to Dan. The world was a wonderful place, Charlie thought as he lay there, and then he too drifted off to sleep. His last thought as his eyes closed was of Dan; his brother Dan.

About an hour later Charlie woke up. Dan had stirred in his sleep, and his arm had stretched out and was now lying across Charlie's lower torso. He must think he's home with his mother, he thought to himself as he lay there half awake. Dan stirred again, and his hand landed squarely on Charlie's most personal place! His first impulse was to brush it away, but something held him back. It feels kinda good, he thought, besides, he's not doing any harm. He's asleep, and he'll move it away again in a moment.

But Dan didn't move it away. Charlie was embarrassed to realize that he was slowly starting to get aroused and just as surely, Dan's hand was closing on his growing instrument. Charlie was wide awake now, wondering what to do and doing nothing at all. They lay there in that position for what seemed like hours, then Dan's hand started moving around; slowly, gently but firmly, deliberately. All Charlie could think was that Dan must be having a wet dream, and he wished that he could get in the dream too. It must have been some dream! As he lay there enjoying what was happening, and wishing that he didn't, Dan's hand suddenly released its grasp. It lay there for a moment, then slowly moved up to Charlie's waistband and started to creep inside!

Charlie lay on his back, eyes wide open, staring into the pitch blackness of the cabin. His mind was zooming at a dizzying speed, thinking of things he would rather not be thinking as Dan's lithe fingers, a little bolder now, continued their explorations. Charlie wanted to be shocked by what was happening, but he wasn't; he wanted to be repulsed by Dan's tender, intimate touch, but in fact he was thrilled beyond expression; he wanted his own hand to gently but firmly remove Dan's hand from its place in his crotch, but his hand was already finding its own way up Dan's leg, and Charlie was powerless to stop it; he wanted more than anything for his raging erection to wilt from the touch of another boy, but instead that touch was causing sensations the likes of which Charlie had never before experienced, and those sensations were far from causing anything to wilt, other than Charlie's self control.

If he were prepared to face facts, Charlie would have to admit that what was happening had been building for years, had been repeated many times in his fantasies. Of course he hadn't recognized it for what it was. That Danny Edwards was a very handsome boy had hardly escaped him, in fact at first Charlie had felt honored just knowing and sharing life with such a devastatingly handsome creature. But now, lying in the dark, caressing and being caressed, Charlie reviewed over and over what he had believed to be isolated incidents. And for the first time ever, he realized that these things were all related and he saw the connection.

There was the time, when they were about eleven, when they were being taught lifesaving at the YMCA pool. Clad only in bathing suits, it had been impossible to hide his arousal as he practiced getting his almost naked friend, feigning unconsciousness, out of the pool. And then when Charlie administered CPR to the lifeless, beautiful body of his best friend, the feeling when their lips met, had caused both boys to literally gasp with... with what? With pleasure neither at the time had understood. Charlie grinned as he recalled thinking that maybe after that experience they both needed CPR to recover.

There was the time, even earlier in their lives, when Charlie had seen Dan all dressed up for the first time. Charlie had gone to Dan's house on Sunday morning, having completely forgotten that the Edwards' always went to Church. He had arrived just as Dan emerged from the house, dressed in a dark suit coat, matching shorts and dark knee socks, tie and leather shoes. "God," Charlie thought, "I couldn't have been more than ten!" But even at that age, the sight of that beautiful little boy facing him, wide grin on his dark face, brown eyes sparkling and blonde hair brushed so it shone, had taken Charlie's breath away.

Charlie remembered all the times the pair had collaborated scoring a goal, landing a fish, winning a relay race. These little triumphs had always been punctuated by a warm embrace; and the embrace had always been so sweet; much too sweet to be simply a brief sign of boyhood affection.

Not long after his mom died, Charlie remembered the day he was lying on his back in the back yard, just soaking up the afternoon sun. It had been an absolutely gorgeous day, but Charlie was still too shocked to enjoy it or even notice. Using a mental process that Charlie used often when things seemed hopeless, he was trying to figure a way that his mother's death and all the ramifications of it could be reversed. Of course that was all futile, but Charlie was desperate. He and his father had never got along very well, had never been more than acquaintances, really. When his mom had taken ill it seemed that Charlie couldn't please his dad no matter what he did; and now his father was all that Charlie had and it just wasn't enough. He had lain there for two hours, oblivious to all around him, when he felt the slight coldness of a shadow. His eyes were open, but seeing nothing.

Coming back to consciousness, Charlie looked up to see Dan standing over him. As usual Dan was immaculate, wearing a new pair of rather loose fitting shorts. Charlie, from his position on the ground, found himself looking straight up the leg of Dan's shorts. He was wearing boxer underwear, so Charlie's line of sight was unobstructed. He remembered feeling guilty for months afterward, because until Dan arrived on the scene he had been remembering his mother, wishing she hadn't died or that he could somehow join her. But after the sight that presented itself, Charlie instantly forgot his train of thought, forgot why he'd been lying there so long; he even forgot to breathe until his body instinctively gasped for air. But he certainly didn't ever forget the show Dan had unwittingly given him. He remembered noticing every little detail of that part of Dan he hadn't seen that often - things like the odd sprigs of hair that had begun to grow, and the fact that things were starting to happen with Dan's body, as they were with his own.

There had been many times when the two friends had seen each other naked, so it wasn't as if there was anything there he hadn't seen before. But that was somehow different. That day, lying on his back staring straight up while Dan just stood there, saying nothing, Charlie had wondered. And now, more than four years later, he finally knew that even at twelve Charlie had felt an affinity, experienced a desire, for what he was staring at that afternoon.

There had been not a single word between the two boys that afternoon, but there'd been lots of communication. After Dan had stood there for a long time, he had understood the pain, the desperate agony of a young boy who could see no possibility of going on. Without a word, Dan had dropped to his knees, then lain down beside his friend and they had embraced, and Charlie had cried. He remembered sobbing almost hysterically; but it wasn't so much from grief as it was from inexpressible relief and gratitude that he and Dan were so close. Unwittingly Dan had given Charlie a reason to live, to go on, to bounce back. Even Charlie himself didn't realize it, but he would've been on the very verge of suicide had it not been for Dan and his empathy. Dan knew his pain and shared it; Dan had without a word given him the comfort, the security, the understanding he'd needed. Dan had at that moment done what only Dan could do: injected in his friend the strength to pick up the pieces and go on.

Of course there were the times, literally hundreds of them, when Charlie fantasized that he and Danny were brothers. It often happened when Charlie was lying in bed alone either elated or depressed, having had a super day with his buddy or a disagreement with his dad: Both extremes of emotion served to remind him of the loneliness he felt when he was at home. Invariably his thoughts turned to Danny as he lay awake, and then the fantasies would swing into high gear. They would be twins, or one boy's parents, usually Dan's, would adopt the other. They studied together, played together, shared a bedroom, clothes, and of course, a bed.

Charlie suddenly realized, for perhaps the first time in conscious thought, that what was happening now had in reality happened many times before in his dreams, his wishes. He was astonished to realize that he had wanted to be intimate with Dan for years, but had suppressed the desires and feelings before he even realized the full significance of them. What was happening now, he realized with a start that sent a chill down his spine, was the fulfillment of a dream. And exactly what was happening?

Dan lay wide awake next to Charlie for what seemed to him like the millionth time. It was no use trying to sleep and he knew it. Try as he might he couldn't sleep when he was in bed with Charlie. Why, he wasn't sure; but often in the past, after his friend was asleep, Dan had ventured a tentative hand to touch his chest, his back, his butt. He didn't understand what was happening, why he had this burning desire to touch Charlie's body, but he did. But tonight was different. Tonight Dan's adventurous hand had found a new plaything. Tonight Dan's hand had, for the very first time in his life, closed on the growing penis of another: his sleeping friend. Friend? No, that word simply did not do justice to the way he felt about Charlie.

Dan wasn't sure, but he thought it had been an accident. He had been caressing Charlie's back and buttocks as he slept, absolutely thrilled at being so close to the one he adored more than any other. Charlie was not particularly muscular, but he was definitely solid and shapely. His skin had a feeling of softness, but it stretched over a body that was devoid of fat and therefore hard and sturdy. In other words, a pretty normal teenage body.

Suddenly Charlie had grunted in his sleep and rolled over on his back. Dan had of course withdrawn his hand, and when he again began to explore he'd misjudged positions, or at least that's what he told himself, and dropped his hand squarely on Charlie's crotch! His first impulse was to remove his hand at once, but he didn't. A part of him screamed at him to let go before Charlie woke up, but he couldn't. It felt so big through the cotton briefs that restrained it, so inviting, so... so much a part of all that Dan adored about his friend, Dan's hand would not be discouraged.

It was a very strange situation. Dan knew precisely what he was doing, but he was acting involuntarily. He was making no decisions, yet what he was doing seemed so right, so natural. His fingers crept slowly up and down the length of the limp thing beneath them, then ventured down to its root. Yes, there were two balls there, same as his. Of course Dan had seen what he was now touching many times, but the satisfaction of confirming their existence by touch seemed... necessary.

Dan had felt a physical attraction to Charlie as long as he could remember. At first he didn't understand it, but as time went on and the two boys matured, Dan had developed a pretty good idea about the nature of that attraction. But he also knew how most teens, presumably including Charlie, felt about such things.

When Charlie had lost interest in their friendship two years ago to pursue a girl, Dan had been devastated. At the time he'd had no interest in girls whatsoever, but at his age that wasn't unusual. But deep down Dan knew, even at thirteen, that his interest in Charlie was more than friendship. So he had spent a lot of the time he'd rather be spending with Charlie researching his feelings and emotions and had come to a conclusion that, at thirteen years old, was rather traumatic. For a million reasons he could think of, his attraction to Charlie had no future; but it was there anyway.

There was no one to talk to about it, no place that Dan knew to get advice. There was no Internet in 1963, no personal computers, and very little tolerance for boys who were attracted to boys. Dan found some material at the library and devoured it. But for the most part he was on his own.

When Charlie seemingly lost interest in his girl friend and gravitated back to their former friendship, Dan was thrilled; but he determined to ignore his physical attraction and concentrate on just being a good friend, lest he drive Charlie away forever. But tonight he could stand it no longer. And the growing thing in his hand was making it increasingly difficult to restrain himself. Restrain himself from what he didn't know; but Dan was painfully aware of a screaming voice within him demanding that he continue what he'd started.

Charlie snapped out of his reverie to the realization that each of them was now manipulating the other's genitals with one hand; meanwhile they had slipped their free arm around each other's neck in a tight embrace. Both were showing, in the involuntary way that males usually do, that they were enjoying the sensations they were experiencing; both were breathing far too fast to be asleep, and both were squirming and rocking their bodies gently in an attempt to get even closer. The thought of their almost naked bodies lying so close drove Charlie to heights of pleasure, passion and desire that he had never before thought possible.

Their hands were everywhere now, and Charlie could stand it no longer. "Danny," he whispered breathlessly, "I want..... Danny, can I...." He didn't finish, didn't have to. He was mildly shocked at what he was thinking, what he wanted to do, but the shock only drove him on. In a way he didn't understand, he knew he'd wanted to do this for a long time. Danny's slim young body, immature in so many ways even for fifteen, was trembling now in anticipation as his undershorts descended to his ankles, and Charlie was staring at what had been hidden there. Even in the darkness he could see clearly the throbbing organ that was now two inches from his face. He hesitated only a few seconds, then he was doing what two hours ago he'd never dreamed of doing. Or had he?

Danny was writhing and groaning from the pleasures he was receiving, but not for long. Like most teenage boys, Charlie had heard about, discussed, and of course joked about the concept of oral sex. Or more accurately, he had heard about the concept of "cocksuckers." And this was a far cry from what he had heard and thought. The image he always conjured in his mind was of a wildly demented, dirty, and of course crazy person who did all sorts of "dirty" things. But this! If the truth were known, Charlie wasn't thinking at all about what he was doing or what it meant; he was just doing what seemed at the moment to be perfectly natural. And perhaps more importantly, he was making love to the one who had been his best friend. Charlie knew he had never experienced anything so sweet, so precious.

It didn't take very long for the inevitable explosion to occur. Up to this point, neither he nor Dan had ever had an orgasm except for the occasional wet dream. They had never made love to anyone, never masturbated, weren't even sure what all the fuss was about. Dan's parents had told him all the facts, he had shared them as he shared everything with Charlie; they had even discussed, planned if you like, a session of mutual masturbation, but had never done it. But when Danny's body tensed a little and started to quiver, his fingernails dug into the back of Charlie's head to the point of pain, and his already huge love instrument swelled just a little more, both boys knew instantly what was happening. For a brief moment Charlie was startled by the realization of what he had caused; but only momentarily. Then it occurred to him that this was part of the lovemaking process; a part that was far from unpleasant, if Dan's writhing and groaning could be taken as an indication. The thought of what was happening, the feel and taste as his mouth was filled with his lover's orgasm, caused Charlie to almost ejaculate in his own shorts. Almost.

As suddenly as it had begun, the storm was over and Dan lay still, thinking to himself that perhaps he hadn't had a stroke after all. Never before in their young lives had they felt so close to another human being! They both wanted to stay in this position forever.

"Charlie," Dan whispered when he was again able to speak, "I'm sorry. I didn't know..."

"Didn't know what?" Charlie interrupted, "Don't be sorry, I wanted to."

"But what I did... That stuff..."

"Yeah, I know. It surprised me too, but it was great! Really!"

"You want me to do that to you?" Dan ventured doubtfully.

"I dunno," Charlie answered, "I guess so, if you want to."

"I'm not sure, Charlie. What's it like?"

"I dunno, Dan. I never did it before. It's kinda hard to describe, but it's not nearly as gross as I thought it would be. In fact, it isn't gross at all. The more I think about it, it was sensational!"

"Really? But... My... what I did..."

"Believe me, buddy, I couldn't believe I was doing it. I don't know why I did, but I had to. And I'm not sorry."

"You want me to do it, don't you?" Dan's hands were causing sensations in Charlie's groin that told him he was close to orgasm himself.

"Only if you want to." Charlie lied. In truth he wanted Dan to experience the same wonderful feelings he'd enjoyed only moments before. And he wanted desperately to feel whatever had made Dan writhe and shudder so violently. Doubtfully, tentatively, Dan began to follow Charlie's lead. Charlie had what seemed to him at that moment to be the largest male organ in the entire world. His mind was reeling with thoughts of what he was contemplating. He wanted to, but he didn't. He knew he'd never be in this position, except that what Charlie had just done to him had given him unbelievable feelings of ecstasy; and he wanted to share those feelings.

Each boy thought he had now experienced the maximum pleasure possible, but seconds later when Charlie began to shudder, each knew he'd been mistaken. Charlie uttered a low, gurgling moan as he literally exploded. Sixteen years of waiting, preparing for this moment came gushing out of Charlie's body in a virtual torrent of thick creamy fluid. Even before the eruption had subsided, both knew they would surely do this again. For a full two minutes both boys lay still without moving a muscle, each thinking of nothing except the next time they would do this. Not IF, WHEN!

When Charlie finally opened his eyes, his heart sank. There stood Bill and Joe, each with a flashlight in one hand, their own erect penis in the other, watching.

"Too bad you couldn't invite your friends to your private party," laughed Joe as he threw back the covers to reveal Dan in a position that was hardly conducive to sleep. By that time Dan had wriggled around so that his feet were where his head should have been, lying flat on his belly with his head resting on Charlie's abdomen. Charlie had been enjoying lying next to Dan's beautiful young body. It was still, of course, completely hairless except for the small bush above his genitals, and had an almost baby-like feel. When the flashlight beam hit his face, Dan sat bolt upright in the bed. He was shivering, probably both from the cold and from being caught in a very embarrassing situation. There could be no doubt that they saw what was going on so there was no sense trying to lie, and Dan and Charlie both knew it.

As the two of them sat on the bed, flashlight beams swinging from their faces to their genitals, Charlie's mind was racing a thousand miles a minute. How am I going to get out of this one? he thought.

"No wonder you wanted to bring that little faggot!" Joe was saying as they laughed and jeered.

"Yeah," Bill agreed, "If I had known he was a queer, I would've wanted him too, only he would've slept with me, not you. He's probably been servicing you like that for years, right?"

Joe demanded, "Were you planning on sharing him, or keeping him all to yourself?"

So that's my out! Charlie thought to himself. They saw Dan sucking me while I was just lying here enjoying it, and that's all they saw. All I have to do is join in the fun and Dan will probably do it for them too, just to keep them quiet. Who knows? He might even want to!

Charlie started to grin and join in the fun. Now all three of them were enjoying the situation at Dan's expense, laughing and joking about the unexpected fun they'd all have with their own private little cocksucker. But then Charlie made a fatal mistake. He glanced at Dan's stricken face. It was the picture of dejection and hurt, sort of a combination of a very little boy about to get a licking and a wounded animal begging with its eyes to be put out of its misery. Those deep brown eyes were filled with tears, and Dan was starting to shiver violently now. The sight was too much.

As Charlie looked with astonishment, he saw in those eyes all that ten years of devoted friendship had meant to them. His mind took him back ten years to when a frightened little boy was being victimized, only now Charlie was one of the persecutors. Suddenly he felt like the rotten son-of-a-bitch that he was. He tried to look away but his eyes were locked on Dan's because by now Dan knew exactly what was going on. They were best friends, no, more than best friends, and Charlie had just betrayed him, thrown him to the wolves to save his own skin, and they both knew it. Hadn't they defended each other many times before? Hadn't Dan stuck up for his friend, even taking the blame for boyhood pranks when the need presented itself? Hadn't they always taken each other's friendship and dedication for granted? And now Charlie had discarded all that loyalty to save his own worthless reputation.

Then Charlie's mouth and tongue started without his telling them to. Ten years of boyhood friendship, of growing up together, of sharing life and all it had to offer, would not allow him to throw all the blame on Dan. Not now, not ever! Dan was his friend and confidante, his companion and pretend brother, and now... his... his... lover!

"Yep," he heard himself saying, "He sure gives one hell of a blow job, but that's nothing compared to the one I gave him first. What do you suppose woke him up? Lemme tell ya, he's some great in bed. He didn't want to do it, but I talked him into it."

That revelation stunned all four of them. Joe and Bill were absolutely silent, and Dan's mouth dropped open wide enough to drive a Mack truck in. When he had recovered Bill said, "You're kidding! You can't get the little fruit off that easy. I had no idea we were gonna have so much fun tonight. Danny boy, you're gonna give me a blow job, and right now! If you're real good at it, I won't beat the snot outta ya!" And with that, Bill started for the bed.

"Not before I finish with him," Charlie almost shouted, and he dove down and buried his face in Dan's groin, taking Dan's limp sex in his mouth and sucking noisily. God, what am I doing? he thought, but he knew exactly what he was doing. The thing in his mouth did not rise, Dan was far too numb with terror; but it didn't matter, at that moment a limp dick was as good as a hard one to serve Charlie's purpose.

In spite of appearances, Charlie wasn't having sex with Dan or anyone else; he wasn't giving him a blow job, nor was he deriving or giving pleasure. He was simply doing what he should have done in the first place: demonstrating in no uncertain terms, in a way that was indisputable, that he was as much involved in what the other two had seen as was Dan. He could feel two flashlight beams and four eyes burning the side of his face as the astounded boys watched what he was doing. After a few seconds, long enough for the spectacle to register, Charlie sat up again. Now Joe and Bill had their mouths open, and were very, very quiet. They looked at each other, then at Dan, then at Charlie. Dan was still shivering and looking at Charlie, still with that look of disbelief, still completely immobile.

"There, see what you've done," Charlie said, still talking involuntarily, "You've scared him so bad he's gone soft!"

"So we've got two faggots here," said Bill when he had recovered. Joe had been trying to light the lantern, and when the soft yellow glow filled the room Bill flicked off his flashlight and walked over to his bed and started to get dressed. "Well," he said, pulling his jeans on, "I'm not staying here with a couple of fruits. No telling what they might do to us after we're asleep."

"You're right," said Joe, who always agreed with Bill on controversial matters.

"I've always wanted to bash a queer," rambled Bill, "What say we beat the fuckin' shit outta them and leave 'em here?"

"Okay by me," agreed Joe as he buttoned his shirt. Dan and Charlie were still sitting on the bed, their shorts around their ankles. Dan had not moved so much as an eyebrow since he had first sat up when the two were discovered.

The two boys were struggling with their boots and chattering about how they were going to kill the faggots. Charlie and Dan were now in total panic, knowing they would probably get the beating of their lives. Charlie leaned over to Dan and whispered, "Quick, the guns!"

The three rifles were leaning against the door jamb (Dan was not old enough to legally carry one), still loaded, "in case something comes around in the night," as Bill had said. Dan gave a quick nod and they both bounded out of bed, kicking out of their shorts as they went, and in what seemed like one jump they were at the door fumbling for the rifles. Again Joe and Bill were shocked into speechlessness. As the two boys each leveled a rifle at them Joe grinned and said, "And what do you think you're gonna do now? You don't have the guts to kill us."

"We don't want to," Charlie answered, "But a bullet hole in your family jewels will sure slow you down a lot. Now gather up your gear and get the hell outta here! I understand how you feel and I'm sorry this all happened, but it happened, and there's nothing we can do about it now." Charlie knew full well, had it been he who'd discovered the other two in the same position, he would have reacted in exactly the same way.

Dan and Charlie stood by the now cold stove; naked, shivering, guns pointing at Bill and Joe, as the two boys gathered up their sleeping bags, food, and other gear. "What about our guns?" Joe demanded.

"Come back here tomorrow afternoon. We'll be gone and your guns will be here somewhere. All you'll have to do is find them," Charlie answered. He was beginning to enjoy this... the full impact of what was happening had not struck home yet. They were soon ready to leave, so they started out the door. Charlie had watched enough Western movies to know that he mustn't let them get too close, so he sidled around the edge of the room as they walked across the floor. Soon they were outside and walking down the path with Dan and Charlie standing in the open doorway, still naked, watching them go until the flashlight beam disappeared in the trees.

"What we goin' to do now?" asked Dan.

"Well, first we're gonna build a fire to get warm, then we're going to go back to bed and get some sleep," Charlie said, trying to keep the wavering of fear and anger out of his voice. They both were so shaken by all that had happened that neither of them thought to put any clothes on. They just rattled around the camp and soon had a roaring fire going in the stove. Every five minutes or so one of them would check outside in case the other two came back, but soon they heard the distant roar of the old truck coming to life and driving away. Before long the two shaken, chilled boys were huddled together again in their sleeping bag. They were shivering violently, both from the cold and from the emotional experience they'd just had.

"Charlie?" Dan whispered.

"What?" Charlie answered, feigning anger. They had both been very quiet, thinking. Charlie had been trying to tell himself that the whole incident was just harmless boyhood experimentation, but he knew that wasn't true. What had happened was far more significant. He didn't begin to understand it, but he knew there was far more between Dan and himself than either of them had realized, and that it had been there for a long, long time. He wasn't ready to admit it yet, but deep down he knew he was in love with Dan.


"Whadda ya mean? Thanks for what?"

"You know, for sticking up for me and not siding against me."

"Forget it." Charlie said, knowing that neither of them would ever forget this night. Again they were silent.

"Charlie?" Dan again ventured tentatively. Charlie grunted an acknowledgment. "Charlie," Dan repeated, his voice shaking more violently than the rest of his body, "What happened?"

"I think that's pretty obvious," was Charlie's rueful reply, "We just got caught queerin' together."

"I know that," Dan gave an extra violent shudder, "But I mean, what happened? Why'd we do that?"

"Do what?" Charlie knew exactly what he meant, but he could think of nothing to say, so he evaded the issue with a needless question.

"You know, We... we... you... what you did..." Dan couldn't finish, couldn't put into words what they'd done because he had started to cry.

"We must be..." he sobbed, "We must be queer, Charlie." Charlie wasn't ready to admit that just yet, though he knew in his heart that what had just happened had been building for years.

"Don't say that!" he snapped, "I ain't no queer. We just got carried away, that's all." His voice had become gruff, his demeanor angry, because he knew if he allowed himself he too would soon be crying. He had enjoyed their little encounter much more than he cared to admit. He had wanted to do it, had known what he was doing, and what's worse, he wanted desperately to do it again. But of course he couldn't, could he? He could possibly explain away one such incident as having got carried away. But two, and in the same night?

"Charlie," Dan said a little more firmly, his voice gaining confidence, "Are you saying you didn't like it? Are you telling me you just lost your head or something?"

"N-no, Dan. To be honest, I don't know what I'm saying. I don't know what came over us, and I don't know what it means. It's just that... that..."

"What, Charlie? Just that what?"

"I don't know, Dan. I don't know how to say what I'm feeling and make it sound right. I just don't know..."

"That you've been thinking of that for a long time? Is that what you're trying to say, or trying not to say?"

Charlie felt himself being backed into a corner; a corner he wasn't ready to back into. But Dan had indeed vocalized exactly what he was thinking.

"Not exactly, Dan," he replied, still skirting the issue, searching for an alternate meaning. "I mean, I never dreamed I'd ever... you know..."

"Never dreamed you'd make love to another boy?" The words slapped both boys squarely in the face, jarred them into a new realization of what had happened. When Charlie didn't answer, Dan went on. "But," he said with an almost defiant tone, "You've thought about - well, touching me, being close, you know, sorta like lovers. Like right now, I'll bet you didn't even realize your hand has been moving all over my back."

At the words, Charlie withdrew his hand as if from a hot stove. Dan took the errant appendage in his own hand and gently placed it back where it had just withdrawn. "It's all right, Charlie," he said softly, "I feel the same, and always have." Now Charlie was really astounded. If he hadn't known better, he'd have thought Dan had just suggested they were in love!

"Dan," Charlie protested, "Don't talk that way!" Now it was Charlie's turn to start to cry. Why he wasn't sure, but his voice was breaking, and this time his defenses couldn't keep it steady. Dan had just described his feelings far too accurately for comfort, and Charlie wasn't at all pleased with the conclusion they were reaching.

"I've done a lot of reading," Dan went on, "I know, Charlie! For years now, every time we touch, every time we're together, since I was ten or twelve, you make me feel - well - good! And I know you feel the same. I've seen your hard on dozens of times. I've seen the look in your eyes, heard you catch your breath, and your touch! When you touch me, which by the way you do a lot, there's more expression in that touch than I can ever describe. You feel... you need to be close, don't you Charlie?"

Charlie was absolutely astonished at his friend's insight. Danny knew how he felt, sensed their reactions to each other, and had evidently figured out what it all meant. "Dan," he almost pleaded, "What exactly are you saying? Are you calling me a... a..."

"Us, Charlie. Not you, US! And I'm not calling us anything, really, 'cause I don't know. But what we just did felt too good to be a one time thing. And from what I've read and the studying I've done, I think you'll have to agree we're a helluva lot more than just friends."

Charlie wasn't at all sure he wanted to hear those words, but he could no longer deny it. The memory of what happened an hour before had brought his manhood once more to attention, and once more they were starting to explore forbidden places with their hands.

"I wanna do it again," Dan announced in a tentative, pleading voice, "And afterwards, if you can honestly say you don't want me to do it any more, I'll never ask again."

"No, Dan," Charlie resisted weakly. But Dan's hands were convincing him that he didn't mean it. "We can't..." he stammered, "It's wrong... What if..."

Before long desire won out as Charlie reasoned that the harm had already been done, so why not enjoy it one more time, then forget it forever? This time Charlie knew he'd be disgusted by the act and that would be the end of it, right?

This time of course they didn't have to worry about waking the other boys, so they were far more passionate. They were a lot longer climaxing this time, and Charlie was glad of that... it gave him that much more time to get used to what they were doing. When Dan finally started to tense and moan, Charlie knew what to expect and was ready for him. When he was through, Charlie gently wrapped his arms around Dan and they embraced. This time there were no tears, no guilt, no fear. "God!" Dan whispered, "I thought I was havin' a heart attack!"

They lay there for a long time then, talking and playing gently with each other. They went on like that for over an hour: experimenting, exploring, pleasuring. They talked about what they'd done and what it meant, and concluded that they must be gay. They had always known they were different from the other boys. They loved hockey, but it wasn't their whole life by any stretch of the imagination; They were more emotional, more aware of emotions and feelings; they cried at sad movies, just like girls they often told themselves; they tended to defend the underdog rather than join the others in often cruel games. Perhaps, they reasoned, all these things were connected. Maybe they were part girl, and that's the reason for the recent development. They didn't begin to understand the concept of homosexuality, or any other sexuality for that matter; but in a strange way it felt good to share these innermost feelings and thoughts they had both kept to themselves for so long. They honestly didn't know what it all meant, but they knew their young lives had just taken an abrupt turn.

"What're we gonna do now?" Dan asked apprehensively.

"I dunno what you mean," Charlie said.

"I mean, about school and everything."

"Yeah, that's right. By Monday, it'll be all over town."

"Sure will. And If I thought those guys made my life miserable before, it'll be worse now. I'm not going back, Charlie."

Of course both boys knew from the washroom graffiti that there was a lot of homosexual activity in and around the school, but that was different and they knew that too. Firstly, from all that they had observed, it was mostly casual sex that meant nothing except short term physical gratification. Secondly, it was very secretive. Everyone knew it went on, but no one but the participants knew who did it. But of course whether or not Dan and Charlie continued their affair, there was no way of keeping tonight's incident a secret. They had seen what could and often did happen to suspected homosexuals and they weren't suspected, they were confirmed! They had been caught in the very act! No, Charlie knew Dan was right. Their school career, at least in this town, was over. And now the panic began to set in.

"How can you not go back?" Charlie demanded, "What'll you do? Where will you go?"

"I dunno, but I'm not going back. Maybe I'll go to Boston."

They decided that since they couldn't go back to school, and since Dan was only fifteen, that meant they had to leave home. Charlie had been thinking about doing that anyway, but until now he had no reason other than discontent. He and his father hadn't gotten along for quite some time, his dad seemingly having other interests. And so they started laying plans.

Charlie had about $200 in his bedroom that he had never put in the bank and Dan had over $500 in the bank. He had $100 at home that he'd withdrawn for some new hockey equipment, but the problem was the five hundred.

"We can't just go get it," Dan said doubtfully, "When I went to the bank last week they called my mom before they'd give me the money."

"That's stupid!" Charlie proclaimed vehemently, "It's your money."

"Yeah, but we can't take the chance. I'll take lots of id and maybe go to a bank out of town somewhere." Of course there were no ATM's in 1965 either.

Charlie agreed that was probably a good idea, so they decided to go back to town, go into their homes when no one was there, get a few things and their money, leave a note, then hitchhike to Boston. It was beginning to sound exciting and the boys were anxious to get started.

They didn't sleep much that night, mostly in fitful doses. They were excited about the adventure they had planned, but at the same time regretful that their lives as they had known them up till now were over. They knew that by the time school opened Monday morning their little secret would be all over town, and Joe and Bill would make it very uncomfortable for them.

Dan's life had seemed to Charlie to be a dream come true: loving parents, comfortable home, never any serious trouble. Dan craved affection, and Charlie had witnessed his mother showering him with it countless times. Charlie's life was a lot less comfortable, a lot rougher around the edges; but both boys regretted turning their backs on their homes. They would have preferred to wait another few years, but in their panic they could see no way to make that happen.

In the morning, about six o'clock, the pair packed up and left the camp. Neither of them was very hungry so they just left most of the food there. Almost as an afterthought, Charlie left a note for the other two apologizing again, explaining that what had happened had been as much a surprise to him and Dan as to the others. They walked the five miles out to the highway, then hitchhiked back to town. After leaving the camp, it was as if the whole incident had never happened. The two boys were best friends again, talking and joking as they'd done for years. Both avoided carefully any reference to what had happened, or things intimate that might be misinterpreted. They were still far from comfortable with the situation they found themselves in so the entire thing was put, for the moment, out of their minds.

When they got back to Truro at about four p.m, the evening shadows were already growing. They hung around a part of town that they seldom frequented, went into a mall and played video games until about nine, then started home. Luckily for them both their parents were out; so they went in, first to Dan's house, then Charlie's. They packed some spare clothes, their money, snack food, and Dan's bank book and id. Then they were ready.

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