If this type of material offends you in any way, shape, or form, please do not continue.
Sometimes, song lyrics say in a musical way what I am thinking and want to say outloud, but never can. Being shy and gay, sure makes life difficult at times.
This fictional story is set in the high mountains of Colorado and in the year 1985. None of the characters in this story are real nor did any of the events you are about to read about ever happen.
If you want to send me email, please use: firstname.lastname@example.org
Flames are released to the ether.. maybe that'll add to global warming! :P
These lyrics of a song by the Backstreet Boys, is the basis for this story about a young man who finds a very unlikely lover:
I'll be the light
When you feel like there's nowhere to run
I'll be the one
To hold you and make sure that you'll be all right
I'll be the one.
Two Weeks of Heaven
Its June 1985 and I am standing on top of the world - One finger touch from heaven.
Actually, I am standing on top of a mound of snow off the freeway, on a high pass in Colorado, admiring the snow-covered scenery, mountains, trees, and incredible blue sky. It is a time for reflection on how I got to this point in my life and what the rest of the summer holds for me.
I am heading towards the south-western part of Colorado, where I was hired for the summer to work as a lumberjack and cabin-mate at a large private ranch.
[To make things less confusing, there are two ranches on this property: The lower, known in the story as LR, has kids whose ages range from 11 to 14. The upper, known in the story as UR, has the 15-18 year olds, generally high school kids.]
Because I am on the forestry staff, I am located in LR, which is where all our equipment is, including the fire fighting stuff. There are only six people, including me, who work out there in the forest. Our job is fairly simple, except it requires constant concentration. We cut marked trees down and convert it into fire wood, cut out trees damaged by the beetle and torch those stacks, and plant new trees. We also get to use this special four-wheel drive pickup that is set up to be like a water tanker. This way, we can water the trees we are planting as well as terrorize kids as they go by in their activity buses.
[If you have been white-water rafting all day, you are going to say you are dry? Ha, and when we got done with that bus, they were soaked! Lesson: Always close bus windows before entering ranch property.]
I am getting ahead of myself here.. I arrived at LR about the same time as other people were, not too early and not days late, like Colin was. There are no kids here yet because we have to learn how things are done, get our certificates in First-Aid and CPR, and emergency evacuations and other procedures. Its a boring, exciting, busy, etc. time for everyone as we only have one week to get all this stuff done before the 'monsters' arrive.
One morning, I awoke to see the ground outside covered in snow. For someone from Southern California, that was just too weird, especially considering it was a week before the end of June! The shower that morning was colder than normal because the water heater had decided Mexico was a more attractive place than here. Needless to say, it was one of those 2.5 second showers with loud screams, only I wasn't the one screaming. I was beyond numb and what hadn't fallen off, disappeared. Such is life.
After breakfast, the general maintenance staff put a new hot water heater in and activated it. When I say "hot water heater" I am not referring to the little ones we have in homes, this sucker held at least 500 gallons and was located directly behind each cabin. It was huge and could, in a pinch, be used for fire fighting. It was also heated constantly with propane because it was gravity fed with water from a glacier higher up in the mountains on the ranch property.
Unlike a woman on our forestry team, I had driven a stick-shift before and a 4x4.. but she hadn't. So on that fateful morning, one day before the arrival of the monsters, we taught her how to drive a stick. Not me, mind you, I was in another pickup watching the antics. For over three hours she struggled with the concept of shift, gas, and stick movement - During that time, she hit three large rocks, side-swipped a tree or two, tried to flatten out four ditchs, and took out an ant hill. The guy teaching her had gotten quiet (later we learned he had fainted after the ant hill disappeared) and then she drove normally. It was simply amazing and funny as hell.
The remainder of the day I wasn't on ranch property as it was my half-day off and I went into town to do my laundry and shopping for stuff I needed for the next two weeks. Late that evening, after parking my car in the staff parking lot, I walked back into my cabin, put the stuff away, crawled into bed, and went to sleep.
[Each LR cabin was named after a breed of horse, mine, oddly enough was Mustang. Almost everyone has heard of the Mustang Ranch in Nevada, at least the str8 guys have heard of it, so to me, who isn't even close to being str8, was extremely surprised at my cabin's name. Each cabin was split up into various areas. See below for a rough idea of how it was set up.
Left cabin ---------- right cabin
----------- bathrooms ------------
----------- in this area -----------
----------- showers --------------
----------- in this part -----------
---------- central area -----------
---------- still c.a. ----------------
--door ---------------- door -----
As you can see, there are two sides per cabin, each had one adult with 11 kids, and 6 double bunkbeds - I had the rightside of the cabin and was on the back exterior wall on the lower bunk. Besides the shower/bathroom area, we also had what was called the central area, where any overflow staff was placed. In my cabin's case, we had two brothers who ended up in the central area because the cabin they had been assigned to was being remodeled. For str8, maybe, guys from Arkansas, they were sure a lot of fun to be around.. especially considering one was my age and blond and really nice to look at. :)]
Saturday morning came, with a loud boom.. Like Higgins in the tv show "Magnum PI," someone thought it would be fun to fire off the LR cannon and wake us up. The sound bounces off the mountains and scares the shit out of you, unless you already happen to be sitting down on the throne. I wasn't so lucky, I shot straight up and damn near knocked myself out as my head collided with the rails for the bunk above. Holding my head and stumbling out of bed, I discovered that the floor was ice-cold and tried to fall back into bed without impacting again. Then another somewhat muted boom was heard from UR as they answered our cannon with their own. I found my slippers, slid my feet in and stumbled off to the bathroom before something else happened.
By the time I got to breakfast, I noticed that I wasn't the only person with a red spot on their head. Some, it looked like, had had more than one impact with an above bunk rail. Everyone was talking quite loudly, maybe their hearing was also impaired, as today was the day the monsters arrived. A general announcement was made after all LR staff had stumbled in, reminding us that the kids would be arriving at 10 A.M. and to make sure we had on our staff shirts and short or pants. We would be getting a list of names for those assigned to us and to take them, once assembled, up to their new home for the next two weeks.
It was eight am by the time we had all calmed down and finished eaten. My cabin mates and I headed back up to Mustang to do a look over and clean up anything we missed. Then we sat around chatting about nothing in particular waiting for the appointed time.
We got dressed in our Staff clothes and headed down to the tennis courts and took our place under the "Mustang" cabin sign. We each were handed a list of the names of our campers and which side they would be assigned. Five buses rolled up and started to discharge kids, who were told where to go, after getting their things, by the Ranch Staff Advisors. Soon I had eleven hyper kids loaded down with all kinds of things around me. After I was able to get their attention, I led them up to our side of the cabin.
Beds were not assigned in advance, so as we entered the room, cries of 'I want that one' rang out as they picked their beds and threw their stuff on them. I was able to speak loud enough over the roar and indicated that I was back there if they ever needed anything. I wandered over and carefully sat down on my bunk and watched the kids run around. Soon, a boy about 12 approached me and asked if he could sleep above me. I said sure and watched as he climbed up and disappeared from view.
Soon, everyone had burnt out their pent-up energy, and was putting away their stuff in the various lockers that were around the room on the exterior walls. An upside down face suddenly appeared inches away from mine and asked where he could put his stuff. I have to admit, I was surprised at his appearence and distracted by his sparkling brown eyes.
I got up off the bed and went over to where the Staff locker was, since it was the only one on this wall, to see which part he could use. It hadn't occured to me that someone would actually want to sleep above me, as there was one extra single bed in the room just for that purpose. It appeared that bed was taken by a kid who kept saying he was afraid of rolling out of a top bunk.
"What is your name? Mine is Jon." I said to this very different boy, who wanted to sleep above me.. I was told the week before that kids did not want to be above an adult because it looked bad to the other kids, something I guess like brown-nosing. I also held out my right hand towards him.
"I'm Peter and nice to meet you," he said as he shook my hand with his sweaty right hand. "Oh cool, I get all of this space, even when it says Staff on it?"
"Yes, there is no other lockers over here because kids generally do not want to be near us 'old' people," I kind of laughed as I said it. I was wondering to myself, why his hand was sweaty and why my heartrate had suddenly doubled...
He kind of bowed his head and tilted it towards me with a serious, or maybe it was seductive, look, and said, "I like you already and hope we will soon be the best of friends."
End of Chapter 1
[more to come, shortly]