Two Men in a Pickup
OK, before this story shifts into high gear, I'm thinking it's the time and place for your basic lull before the storm. There's nothing here that really advances the plot, so you can skip ahead to get to the action. However, as lulls go, this one features a literal romp in the hay, so you may want to stick around for that.
So anyway -- every once in a while, there comes a day or two when the regular routine gets interrupted by the weather. Could be an electrical storm on a sweltering afternoon that rolls in from the west and with a single lightning bolt can knock your sorry ass off the tractor seat and straight to kingdom come. Could be a hail storm that sends you running for cover, while it slices and dices the vegetation in every direction and raises an unholy roaring din. Could be a tornado that takes the roof off the barn -- or the whole barn and everything in it.
Or, god willing, it's a steady soaking summer rain that comes in on a Canadian front and just hangs on for a couple soggy days, leaving you nothing to do but find yourself some place dry and indoors and, if you're in the mood, just listen to the sound of it on the roof.
Such a rain finally comes, starting days before with a warm, dry south wind that never lets up, sighing in the window screens at night. And Mike, ever the weatherman, saying twenty times if he says it once, "Blowin' up a good one."
Finally, an evening comes with a cloudbank rising in the western sky and producing one of those Cecil B. Demille religious sunsets. By bedtime, there's thunder rumbling in the distance, and the wind picks up in gusts, banging around one of the doors out at the barn that got left unlatched, and come midnight we're running around the house in our underwear closing windows as the first rain comes splashing down.
The next morning dawns, gray and wet. It's a Saturday; Mike has a half day again over at the dairy, and before he leaves he's shaking me awake. "Bud," he's saying, "You gotta get up and go turn off the sprinklers in the hay field." I'm all for sleeping in, and when I don't respond, he reaches under the sheet to find my balls. "You did hear me," he says, when my eyes pop open.
"Yeah, boss," I say.
He's dressed for work in his best wranglers, his Fairacres cap and his blue work shirt with his name stitched over the pocket. He sits on the edge of the bed and bends forward to kiss me on the mouth. When he pulls back, he's making a face. "Bleah. Have you been sucking cock again?"
"You oughtta know," I say stretching. I'd wrestle him down on the bed, but he's still got me by the balls.
After he's gone, I get dressed and drive out to the hay field. The precipitation, as the weather reports like to call it here, is coming in showers, and I have to wait a couple minutes in the car, watching the sprinklers turning in the falling rain. I switch on the radio while the windows steam up. KRGI is playing Tennessee Ernie Ford, their idea of wake-up music; I try the top-40 station from Omaha, but it's all static.
Yawning, I put my hands to my face to rub sleep from my eyes, and I can smell Mike's Old Spice, his underarms, and the rich aroma of his cock and my saliva. Natch, it gives me a boner in my levi's.
Eventually, I get the sprinkler pump turned off and I'm back at the place. When I walk in the kitchen, Kirk is standing with the phone in one hand and scratching his butt with the other, making plans with his friend Rich in Kearney. And in less than an hour he has packed for the weekend, borrowed the Fairlane, and hit the road. I direct one of my rare requests to the Almighty that he doesn't hit anything else.
Housework and cooking were not in the job description when I signed on as field hand here, but I seem to do them anyway. I throw a load of jeans and work shirts in the washer. I vacuum the TV room, change the sheets on the beds, clean the bathroom, feed the dog. You get the idea. I've even got a plateful of bologna sandwiches and a beer on the kitchen table when Mike comes home at noon.
"Gotta change the oil in the truck," he's saying, popping the buttons on his shirt and starting into one sandwich without sitting down. Once his shirt is off, he's unbuckling his belt and unzipping his wranglers, the sandwich clamped hands-free between his teeth while he unlaces his work boots.
His underwear is snow-white, the way he likes them; he's showed me how to use the bleach. My mom -- may she rest in peace -- would be proud of me. Well, for the laundry part of it anyway. Not sure what she'd make of my attachment to the guy that goes with the underwear.
On the back porch hangs his grease-monkey coveralls, and he's walking out in his socks to get them off the hook and climb into them. He shrugs his arms into the sleeves and then pulls up the zipper in one sweeping gesture from balls to chest.
He finally sits down at the kitchen table, scooping up another sandwich. He looks at me watching him. "What?" he says, with his little grin.
I want to say that sometimes he amazes me, but he'd make a joke of it. "Nothing," I say. "Come out to the barn when you're done. I want to show you something." I go throw another load in the washer.
I've had a day like this in the back of my mind for longer than I've known Mike. It involves rain, another man, and a hayloft. And today, if I can interest Mike, I've got all three.
I stick my head in the garage later. The hood is propped open on the truck, and he's crawled up onto the engine, just his butt in the coveralls and the soles of his boots showing. I don't ask what he's doing; it's a Mike thing.
"I'm about done," he says.
I hurry across the place to the barn as the rain picks up again. I'm wearing a windbreaker, and under it I'm holding an old patchwork quilt from the back bedroom closet.
When he gets there, I'm standing in the hayloft door, looking out over the farm buildings and the cornfields beyond. From far away, I can hear the sound of a meadowlark sitting on a fence post somewhere -- singing in the rain.
He comes up beside me, wiping oil and grease from his knuckles with a red handkerchief. I turn and slide my hands into the side vents of his coveralls, where a man might reach into the pockets of the pants he's wearing underneath, but where I'm finding the smooth cotton of Mike's boxers and the warm feel of his thighs.
He smiles and then slips his thumbs into my back pockets. I can feel his fingers drumming there, a little rhythm. There's a squall of raindrops clattering on the roof and then the start of a steady downpour again.
"What did you want to show me?" he says.
I nod toward a pile of hay in the corner. I've spread out the quilt. He gets a big grin and is already reaching for the zipper on his coveralls.
The afternoon together is long and lazy, and the rain never stops. I lie close to him, sometimes with one leg over him, sometimes lying flat out on top of him, from nose to toes, sometimes pressed side-by-side, his arm over my shoulder and my head on his arm. When it gets too cold lying there naked, we pull the quilt over us and cuddle up together bare-assed on the prickly hay. For a while, I cradle him in my arms, his head resting on my chest.
The sex comes easy when it comes. We kiss and then tongue each other in the ears, jerking off together for a while. Then we roll around into a sixty-nine, and while his pubic hair is soft against my face and smells of shampoo, it takes me a minute to figure out the taste of his dick, which has picked up from his hand the flavor of a truck engine.
I let my fingers do the walking all over his butt, and he lifts a leg so I can get into his crack to stroke his short hairs, which I know he loves -- and makes his cock even harder. Meanwhile, he's doing his drumming again, tapping out a Morse code on the underside of my dick: do me, do me, do me. Drives me crazy.
It's been well over 12 hours since we last had sex, and I'm ready to go for it, but Mike eases off and says, "Let's see who can last the longest."
"What if I don't care?" I say. And I truly don't.
"Try it," he says. "You might like it." And he pulls himself around so that we're face to face again. My cock is hard against his belly. He strokes my chest and pinches one of my nipples. "Let's talk a while. Tell me about your first time."
"No, you," I say. "This was your idea."
He thinks for a minute. "OK," he says and begins a story that sounds like it goes way back. "I was sixteen," he starts, real serious.
"You're making this up," I say.
He looks at me surprised; almost hurt. "No, bud. Why would I do that?" he says.
"Sixteen?" It just sounds a little young.
"You'll have to take my word for it," he says. And he tells me about himself and a waitress at the town diner.
"Do I know her?" I ask.
"No," he says flatly. Since he's on friendly terms with most of the women who wait tables in town, I suspect that maybe I do.
This one takes a shine to Mike. She works nights, and he and his buddy Don like to stop there for burgers and fries when they've been out late. A bit on the shy side, she is; shy and plain. Maybe 25 or 30, but as good as ancient to both of them.
"Would you fuck her?" Don would ask, whether or not she was out of earshot.
"Shuddup," Mike would say, "she can hear you."
But being a horny teenager and still a virgin, Mike's curiosity gets the best of him, and one Friday night in October, when Don and his folks are in Topeka for a funeral, Mike shows up at the diner and parks himself at the counter until closing time, drinking cokes and eating the last pieces of apple pie on the dessert rack.
So happens she lives with her mom across the Union Pacific tracks on 6th Street, and they have no other place to go, so he drives down to the river and parks in a place all the high school kids know as Lovers Lane.
"I think neither of us had done it before," Mike says. And he wants to know if I've ever been with a virgin.
"Are you kidding?" I tell him.
"There's a kind of popping feeling when you go in the first time," he explains. "Hard to describe, but she popped."
I'm dying to know why a woman, a waitress who must meet lots of men, would want anything to do with a 16-year-old boy.
"I mean, we did it the minute we hit the back seat. We didn't even undress," he says and kind of laughs. "I really had the idea I was going to get her naked. And somehow we skipped that."
Then he tries to persuade her to take off her uniform. At first she says no, but Mike persists, and finally she gives in, opening her top and lifting her bra so he can touch her breasts.
"They were nice," Mike says. "Ample." It's too dark in the backseat to see them, and he thinks of getting the flashlight he keeps in the glove compartment. But he's still hard and decides instead to give it a go for a second time.
At which point another car pulls up, and in the flash of headlights, before she covers herself, Mike gets a good look. Across one of her breasts is a deep, dark strawberry mark. "Big as a dinner plate," he says. "Bigger."
I'm watching him; his eyes are half closed, and I feel his hand open and close on my back.
"So I didn't stop," he says. "I had to show her it didn't matter."
I'm curious now. "Did it ever happen again?"
"Once or twice." But Don is hard to shake; they're inseparable. The dynamic duo, Don's dad used to call them. And before long she marries an older guy from Loup City, a trucker with his own rig who takes cattle to the sale barns in Omaha.
"I was dumb lucky, too," Mike says. "Didn't know about rubbers."
"Wouldn't you say she kinda took advantage of you?" I suggest.
"More the other way around," he says, sounding rueful.
"But you were only sixteen," I say.
He shrugs like that's the end of the story and reaches between my legs. "Did the trick anyway," he says. "You're soft as a ripe banana."
We resume sucking each other, but I'm slow getting back into the mood, until I can stop thinking about Mike sitting at that counter eating his last piece of apple pie as a virgin.
And just as I'm getting really warmed up again, he stops and I can hear him saying, "OK, bud, your turn." And he slaps my butt to make me quit. "You can't talk with your mouth full." I roll onto my back and let his wet cock fall -- slap -- onto his leg.
"Wait," I say, trying to spit out one of his pubic hairs. And I'm thinking, what the hell am I going to tell him? I have no stories.
"Anybody ever take advantage of you?" he says.
"Come on, I betcha somebody must've tried," he says.
I decide to tell him about a trip I took with a guy who lived in the dorm across the hall.
"A dorm," Mike says grinning. "Isn't that some sort of hotel for horny college boys?"
"Come on. You were in the service; it can't be any different," I say. "Do you want to hear this or not?"
"Air Force," he corrects me.
I continue. One weekend, I give this freshman Bobby a ride home in my car so he can pick up some clothes and stuff. He lives out in Scottsbluff, in the panhandle, so it's a good long drive. We stay over, and his mom says do I want a room of my own or will I just sleep with Bobby. Before I can say anything, Bobby tells her we'll both be in his room.
This is OK and it's not OK. Bobby is kind of cute and all that. For a while I think he comes from a ranch out there because he has this cowboy hat he likes to wear. But he's so full of himself and can never stop going on about girls and getting laid, I frankly just lose interest in him. You know how you can think somebody's hot stuff until they start talking too much?
"Then why did you agree to drive him home?" Mike wants to know.
"He was paying the gas, and he said he'd give me twenty bucks," I say.
"Oh," he says, like he's not convinced.
Anyway, we're in the same bed at night, but nothing really happens. I wake up once with his arm over me, but he's sound asleep.
Turns out Bobby's father is a preacher, and besides Bobby, he and Mrs. Preacher also have three teenage daughters, and all of them keep hovering like I'm the first interesting thing in the house since they got TV. In fact, it's like this family invented togetherness; we do everything together. After a while, I can hardly breathe.
Come Sunday morning, I'm ready to get back on the highway -- more than ready. But Bobby's dad expects us to come to his church before we go. And there's no saying no.
The church is two blocks away, and we troop over together in a bunch. I'm introduced around as Bobby's friend from college, and I'm getting way too much attention from all these friendly middle-aged folks all dressed up like nothing else ever happens in town. So just before service starts, when Bobby says he's going back to the house for something he forgot, I go along.
As soon as we get there, we're in his bedroom, and he starts ripping off his clothes and saying, "We only got five minutes; we only got five minutes." Then he pushes me down on the bed and tries to unbuckle my belt. And we're wrestling around because I'm totally taken by surprise. Now he's given up on my belt and is just grabbing my crotch and -- another big surprise -- all this is getting me hard.
I roll onto the floor, trying to get him off me, but I only manage to knock over some furniture. I grab between his legs, which only cranks me up a notch, because he's down to his jockeys, and I'm getting a good feel of what he's got. And he's even harder.
Before I know it, I'm creaming my jeans. Except they're not jeans, but a nice pair of freshly laundered chinos, the kind with no cuffs, very cool. I'm thinking, aw shit, and sure enough, when I look, there's already a big wet blotch soaking through around my fly.
Then Bobby really swings into action, straddling me on the floor and pinning both my hands over my head. He leans way forward until he's pressing the front of his jockeys right into my face. I can't breathe, and I try to bite him in the balls, but all I get between my teeth is the taste of his underwear. He just grinds away against me until he comes.
Next thing I know, there's the sound of someone pounding on the door. It's one of Bobby's sisters, and she's saying, "What are you doing in there? What are you doing in there? You'll be late for church."
Mike is laughing. "His sister?"
"Yeah, they had a regular spy network going," I say.
Then Bobby jumps back into his clothes, and he just leaves me there. His sister, it was the youngest one, takes one look at me, while I'm still on the floor. Then she's off like a shot, too, and I'm hearing the front door slam.
"That boy sure wanted you bad," Mike says. "Imagine going to all that trouble for a little wrestle." Then he wants to know what happens next.
Well, what happens is we drive back to the college, and when we pull over for a pit stop, I jump in the car and leave him there by the road. End of story.
Mike screws up his face. "Aw, bud, that was mean. What got into you?"
"I dunno. He made me mad." The cum stains never come out of those chinos, and he never pays me the twenty bucks either.
"Serves you right," Mike laughs.
"How do you figure?" I say.
"You could have had yourself a cute bunk buddy, and you blew it." He gets up shaking his head, walks over to the open loft door and stands there for a while, scratching himself and pissing into the falling rain. I walk over and do the same; the power of suggestion.
"I can tell you a wrestling story," he says, flipping the last drops from his dick.
"Wait a minute," I say. "You're forgetting something."
"No, I'm not," he says. He puts his hand on my butt as I'm finishing up and runs his fingers along between my cheeks, and he buries his face in my neck, tickling me with his moustache. I'm holding my dick, gone all soft, and feeling it snap back to life again.
Then I'm not sure how he does this, but bending down and holding me by one wrist, I think, he's pulling me off balance. Next thing I know he's lifted me onto his shoulders, and the whole damn hayloft is spinning around me in slow motion.
The floor boards are creaking under us as he hauls me like this back to the hay pile, and I'm laughing and begging him to put me down. Which he eventually does, but head-first, still holding me so my feet are in the air, and I feel him slip one hand between my legs to rub my balls and jerk on my cock.
Then we're both down on the quilt and he's got his naked legs locked around my chest, his shoulder pinning down one of my thighs, and he's pushing the other back so I'm wide open and he can keep on stroking my hard-on. I'm helpless.
"Spit shine?" he says. And I hear him hawk up a gob of it and let it fly smack into his hand, then the slick, gooey warmth of it as his fingers work themselves around my dick. "Hmmm," he says. "You polish up real nice."
The sensation, of course, drives me wild. "Holy cow," I'm saying over and over, hardly able to breathe with his leg pressing down on my chest.
I'm about to pop again, and he lets go of my dick just one stroke short of sending me through the roof. I go to finish myself off, but he blocks my reach with his arm. "Mitts off!" he barks and clamps down harder with his legs.
"OK, OK," I wheeze, and he finally lifts his leg so I can breathe.
Now he lies down beside me, wiping his wet hand all over my stomach. "Story time again," he says. "What do you want to hear now?"
"Something very short," I say.
This he ignores, as I can already tell, because of how he's kind of gathering himself together for something long-winded. His head is on my arm, and his wet hand comes to rest on my chest.
"A wrestling story," he begins. And we go far back again to when Mike was in high school. Senior year this time. Don has gotten himself in head over heels with Carol, leaving Mike horny and on his own a lot. They'd double date, but Carol doesn't like to.
Mike takes an after-school job in town, pushing broom, cleaning up, and getting the hang of auto maintenance at a Mobil station with a two-bay garage. The mechanic is a young guy, Mitch, from Broken Bow. Short dark hair and handsome, his arms and chest developed from lifting weights, his legs muscular in his jeans.
"At first I think I have a crush on his car," Mike says. It's a 1956 black Corvette. "But after a while, I know it's Mitch I've got a crush on."
Mike is there every day first thing after school, plus all day Saturday, and sometimes they're there into the night, as Mitch pulls the 'Vette inside and works on it until all hours, the local radio station playing until sign-off and after that only the sorrowful moaning of the diesel engines as night trains rumble slowly through town. In the dead of winter, wind whistles around the building, fine flakes of snow sifting in around the big door, the Flying Horse sign outside swinging in the sharp breeze.
Once in a blue moon, a couple old school mates drop in, smoke Camels and pass a bottle of Kentucky bourbon back and forth. They call him "A-Joe" and it's some joke they don't let Mike in on.
"When do we get to the wrestling part?" I say, knowing full well that Mike will take his sweet time.
Mitch it seems has only one interest, his 'Vette. And Mike keeps him company, talking and handing him tools, watching him, sometimes just his legs and work boots sticking out from under the car.
"And when he's under there, I'm staring at his crotch whenever I get the chance," Mike says. "Course I'm real innocent. I just wanna see what's in there. Wouldn't know what to do with it."
Come spring, the sap starts flowing, and not just in the trees. On a warm evening in May, as the sun is setting, they take the Corvette for a spin, north along 281 to St. Paul.
Racing along, close to the road, Mike feels his young life surging in his body (this is my translation, by the way) and the days and nights ahead full of excitement and desire (OK, pretty corny, I know, but you get the idea). Or to use Mike's words, "All I really want that night is to get laid."
At St. Paul, Mitch decides to drive on to Broken Bow. The last light of evening lingers in the sky ahead, and the road is deserted. Mike is aware of the speedometer rolling up and over the speed limit, until the flat landscape is gliding by at 95 mph. His heart is pounding, and his dick is getting hard in his wranglers. Mitch is silent the entire way and seems to concentrate on the sound of the engine.
At Broken Bow, Mitch takes a side street and goes all the way to the end, where the last house sits under a dim street light, and the dark prairie night stretches out beyond. The car rolls to a stop in the driveway, gravel crunching under the tires.
"My grandmother's," Mitch explains. "This is where I grew up."
They go into the house, where a light shines in a kitchen window, and Mitch gives his grandmother a hug. She's small, almost deaf, and happy to see him. A newspaper lies open on the kitchen table, with a magnifying glass next to a headline, "Ranchers Report Rustling."
"This a new friend?" she wants to know, and shakes Mike's hand. "I raised this boy," she says proudly. "Look at him now."
In the basement, Mitch opens a door and reaches in to switch on the lights, and inside is a paneled room with a bed. The bedspread is decorated with cowboys on bucking broncos, and against one wall is a bookcase with a neat stack of magazines and paperback westerns, some high school yearbooks, and several trophies.
When Mitch sees Mike looking at them, he says, "Wrestling." Then he tosses his leather jacket on the bed and starts rummaging for something on the floor of a closet.
Mike takes a yearbook and thumbs through it, looking for sports pictures. On the pages for wrestling, there is the team, with a younger version of Mitch, all trying to look stern and unsmiling. Fierce. Trophies are arranged on the gym floor in front of them. The caption says Mitch was team captain.
There are messages scribbled on the page, each to "H.O.", and the penny finally hits the slot. It wasn't A-Joe they were saying. One is right next to a picture of him at a meet, taking down another wrestler, the front of Mitch's singlet sporting a hefty erection.
Mitch comes up behind him and puts a hand on his shoulder. "That's me, all right."
Mitch laughs softly. "Hard On. Nickname I got when I was a freshman. Kinda stuck." Coach tells him if he concentrates hard enough he shouldn't get them, but no matter what, it hardly ever works.
"You look great," Mike says, meaning with a hard-on, but not saying so.
"Ever wrestle?" Mitch wants to know.
"Not for real," Mike says.
Mitch takes him to another room, an empty expanse of concrete floor, with a furnace on one wall and beside it a bench for weightlifting and a stack of folding mats. "A buddy and I used to work out and wrestle in here," Mitch says. "Not your regulation wrestling, exactly," he adds, laughing to himself.
"Like what," Mike says.
"Oh, grabbing balls, pulling off each other's shorts, shit like that," he says. "Once we oiled up with Crisco; that was different. Helluva mess to clean up, though."
"Sounds like fun," Mike says, his cock getting stiff again in his underwear. "Teach me something."
Mitch looks at him for a minute, then says OK. They kick off their boots and lay out the mats. "Might want to take off your shirt," Mitch says.
Then Mitch shows him some submission holds. "These are the classics," he says, the Boston crab, the half nelson, full nelson, back crunch, abdominal stretch. He demonstrates them first on Mike, then has Mike do them on him.
Mike feels himself turn to jello as Mitch presses against him, pulling an arm, a leg, twisting him into contortions he didn't know existed. And he sinks like a stone into the warmth and strength of Mitch's body. Once Mitch's hand brushes against the fly of his jeans, and there's no way he can't notice that Mike is hard as a rifle barrel.
After almost an hour of this, they are lying flat out on the mats, side by side, and something unexpected happens. Mike reaches over to Mitch and kisses him on the mouth.
"What'd you do that for," Mitch wants to know.
And every heart-felt pang of longing comes pouring from Mike. He confesses every wish he's ever had to live with Mitch, see him naked, sleep in the same bed with him, and ride off with him into the sunset in his black Corvette.
"What happened then?" I want to know. By now we're totally under the quilt, wrapped up with the smell of hay and our bodies, the sound of raindrops far off, falling lightly on the barn roof.
"He takes me in his arms and just holds me," Mike says. He tells Mike what a fine young man he is, how much he likes him. And when his knee kind of brushes against the inside of Mike's leg, Mike comes in his shorts in a gush.
And there's nothing else to tell. Mitch drives him back home that night, and never says anything about it again.
"That's it?" I say, ignoring a blank look that crosses his face. "So all along he was straight?"
"I dunno; maybe he just wasn't ready. Maybe he thought I was too young." Mike leans back and scratches his chest.
"Too bad. You had me going there," I say. "I was expecting at least a blow job."
"That part's still coming," Mike says, and he disappears under the quilt to nuzzle between my legs.
By this time my nerve ends are all frazzled, kind of dazed and zingy, like bad wiring ready to spark and short out. I've been hard and soft so many times, my dick doesn't know if I'm coming or going. When Mike's mouth closes around me, I can feel things kind of stirring, but seriously confused.
His hands stroke over my chest and belly, smoothing me down like a bed sheet after a rough night. All at once it's too warm under the quilt; I stick out my head to take a deep breath and let the cool, damp air of the hayloft wash over my face.
I throw my hands over my head, stretching as far as I can reach. High above me a pigeon dive bombs from a rafter and then sails out the open hayloft door and into the gray, wet afternoon.
When I come, it blows all my fuses. I'm flying and crash-landing all at the same time. Without Mike's hand holding me firmly by the balls, I would lift straight off the floor, zipping and looping around until I evaporate.
After a while, I feel him let my dick go; it falls with a numb thud on my belly, like a soldier into his bunk after a long, hard day of boot camp. Mike emerges from under the quilt, grinning and licking his moustache.
"What'd I tell ya, bud," he says.
I'm searching for words for a while and finally say, "What can I say? You're the boss."
Later we get dressed and go to town for pizza and a pitcher of Hamm's. "Whatever happened to Mitch?" I ask, pouring beers for each of us. A Johnny Cash song starts up on the juke box.
Mike looks into the distance over my shoulder. "Dunno. I heard he drove that 'Vette out to California, but what happened to him after that?" He shrugs.
"Don't you wonder?" I touch my boot against his under the table.
"I signed up with the Air Force to forget about all that," he says, and the pizza arrives, double cheese and pepperoni, Mike's favorite. He wiggles the toe of his boot against mine.
"And how did that work out?" I want to know.
"You learn you can get over about anything if you half try." He looks into my eyes and grins. "You know what happens to guys they catch playing footsie in here?"
"Tell me," I'm laughing.
"Well, for one thing, you can kiss your ass goodbye." He sinks his teeth into a piece of pizza, and under the table I can feel his other boot pushing up against mine.