by Blake Dawson* <email@example.com>
From the Preface to Chapter 1:
If you like to read this kind of story but are concerned about possible legal implications, work to change the law! If you don’t, why are you here?
*Blake Dawson is the person the otherwise anonymous author would be if “trading places” became magically possible.
Our little cricket team had only lost one game before Christmas, although we certainly had not been seen as dominating the top grade of the under 12 competition, and we still had a couple of tough games ahead of us on the run home. We were also a reasonably interesting bunch, although only four of my teammates played a significant part in my life beyond that season. And while those four were each in their own way just as keen on their cricket as I was, it was the other six who gave us our real strength. While I still remember all their names well enough, in my thoughts they were almost always just the “big six”. All of them were within six months of being too old for Under 12, as was my beloved Hayden, and all six were on the big side for their age while retaining youthful athleticism. And with both Troy Wilkins and Joey Mantari also being tall for their age, our undisputed leader and inspiration Hades was the third shortest member of his side, just a bit taller than Jarod Kendall and little me. This came to matter to our performances, because the overall physical size of our team could be a bit intimidating to your average Under 12 team.
Early in the season there had been a bit of swapping around involving a couple of our “big six” and some of the more talented of our tackers team. But, by the break, it had become evident to everybody that our eleven had sorted itself out, especially as all of the big six and Hayden were to be starting at the local high school in February, having come from three different primary schools. The six of them were a rather loose bunch of friends, hanging out in varying combinations and each often having other individual mates coming and going. They also had quite a range of cricket backgrounds. Two had played in Hayden’s side the previous season, one of them then being in his third season and the other in his first, Jordan North and another had played in the tackers along with Jarod and me, while two were new to the club, one of whom had shifted from Melbourne where he had played a couple of seasons, with the other in his first season playing competitively, having made a bit of a reputation in school cricket. And while they had each in some match or other put in a big performance batting, bowling or fielding, they had not developed much individual consistency. The one thing that frustrated Hayden and me a little, is that they were all also a bit too laid back to notice how easily things might be different. But the team kept scraping through, and by December everyone had made it an important enough part of their lives to be there whenever they were meant to be.
It seemed that a couple of weeks holiday was what we all needed to realise just how important our cricket team had become to all eleven of us. Hayden, Troy, Joey and I had already arranged to resume our Monday night extra sessions the night after I got back from the least memorable fortnight in Bermagui that I can remember. And on that night we agreed to split up the task of chasing up our other teammates so that we could resume team practice that Wednesday, which was a week earlier than we had arranged before the break. We got nine to that first session and agreed to have extra sessions a bit earlier on the Friday and late on Sunday to allow for those who might be still in holiday mode on weekends. We got our whole eleven on the Friday, and by the Sunday word had really got out and we were even joined by a few of the tackers. Somehow we managed to keep our Monday foursome going through all this, and by what was to have been our first official training night, something had clicked.
Suddenly we found enough confidence in each other to be prepared to put pressure on by directly competing with each other throughout our training sessions. For the first and only time in our careers, I even decided to bowl seriously to Hayden and really try to repeat the ball which I had embarrassed myself with in the school yard almost two years earlier. However, he was in such exquisite touch, and sufficiently mindful of what I had once done, that I did not manage to disturb his stumps in any of the two to three sessions a week that we kept up for the remainder of the season, although I did force more than one catchable nick. It was like that between the whole eleven of us and we all managed to share a lot more of our lives than cricket, in the mix of seriousness and humour that confident twelves or wanna be twelves find easy.
Writing this, I feel a lot of sympathy for the first team we ran into after the break, but at the time we only felt joy when everything clicked, although, to anybody watching the massacre without knowing, we must have appeared arrogant in the extreme. Over the ensuing weeks our various opponents became better prepared, but that had little influence on the score lines, and our dominance was generally recognised by the time we hit the finals. Now cricket is the kind of game where inflated expectations are often a recipe for disaster, but we were doubly fortunate to have no pressure put on us by parents or supporters. Peter Wilkins had gone virtually onto auto pilot as coach, letting Hayden have his head with the running of the team on the field and concentrating on organising a couple of special activities to complement our keenness and closeness.
We knew our grand final opponents were also quite a strong team and looked forward to the challenge. Their opening bowlers were better than anybody we had, and one thing we had not thought of during our build up was to borrow a couple of higher age group bowlers to practice against, probably because such an idea would not fit with our preoccupation with bonding. On the Monday night before the grand final, Hayden surprised me by announcing after we had split with Troy and Joey that he would be sleeping over at my place, in the safe knowledge that neither I nor mum would object. He had done half his homework while I was giving my weekly report to Mr Harris at the sports store, and we were both able to finish off what we had left while mum happily threw together quite a meal for all three of us. After we had all cleared up, we talked through what our little team had achieved to be going into a grand final as hot favourites, till Hayden floored mum and me before nine by suggesting it was nearly our bed time and that we would probably chat for a while in bed about “the match at the end of the week.”
Then as ever, the two of us enjoyed a bit of affection and mutual masturbation when the opportunity allowed, as it did on a regular irregular basis, but it was always low key, always at my initiative and never by special arrangement. We were the best of best mates so that was ok. But once inside my room that evening he was quickly naked and in my bed, making it clear that I was to hurry up and join him. He was just as quickly sucking my dick, fucking my arse, sucking me again and finally winding down through some kissing and hugging that was passionate rather than affectionate. Then he looked me in the eyes in the twilight and whispered: “That isn’t why I’m here. It was just to get you happy enough for me to ask you a big favour.” I suspected it might be that he wanted me to actually bowl a spell instead of the odd over I had been having since the break. I knew without thinking about it that it would not involve a change to our eleven players because that was way past discussing, but even me being dropped would have surprised me less than his request for me to open the batting. I could not see any reason not to continue with Jordan who had landed in that job before Christmas, despite still being seen more as a bowler, but who had steadily improved in the job. And there wasn’t. What he wanted me to open for was so he could drop himself down to number three: “The only real risk I can see is if they got me out in the first few overs and it started to play on the minds of the team, so I want you to make sure I’m not even in in the first ten overs.”
Our new opening combination successfully saw off their star bowlers, although our scoring rate was slow thanks to my lack of power, but eventually the break came and Hayden joined me at the crease. I mentioned the run rate, but he was determined that the first priority was on us not losing a second wicket quickly. Soon his shots started flowing and I was becoming the main obstacle to us getting a big total, so I suggested I should just throw my hand. He insisted I should still make them pay by taking and getting away with bigger and bigger risks, and I warned him not to try to imitate me and get himself out instead. I managed to double my score to a respectable total in the next three overs before failing to realise that my legs were slowing down a little and being caught short going for a suicide second run. From there, everything continued to plan, and our whole team followed the get a start—take a risk example to push our total into the safety zone. And, while not exactly a real spell, I at least got a couple of overs in a row and picked up one wicket, before Troy and Joey showed what they had gained from all our extra practice by completely shutting down their tail.
We were soon back at our clubrooms for a traditional kids’ premiership bun fight and speeches which brought in quite a crowd as success at that level was something of a novelty for our club. Sometime well into the afternoon, I became aware that the gathering had shrunk down to just our team, a few of our mates in the tackers or, like Barry Smith, in their first year of Under 14s, plus our families and a few personal friends, including Robbie Vander who must have got sick of me telling that he should have been part of it, although I really had no idea in who’s place. I knew but had not thought about the fact that our club also had our third senior team playing in a grand final, so that had gradually taken the attention of all the club people who had made a fuss of us at lunchtime, but to eleven kids who just wanted to hang out together, all that really mattered was that there was a bit of a crowd around, not who was in it. Eventually, we found ourselves out at the nets having an unwind hit, just the eleven of us in the team and no hangers on until our ever organising something coach Peter Wilkins wandered over. We moved to besiege him in the way a bunch of kids traditionally award special recognition to an otherwise untouchable adult, but he stopped us in our tracks by announcing from a safe distance that our parents had said it was ok for us all to go back to his place for a barbie and sleep over, if we wanted. Ten wanted and Troy already lived there so he had no choice. Troy suggested that we should all bring our swimming gear, which seeing I knew they had quite a modest home, I took as meaning we might hit the beach next morning. And as the first of those who had gone to the thirds filtered back with news that they were unlikely to match our performance, the last of us headed to our individual homes to freshen up and grab whatever we needed.
My head was churning under the shower and I eventually remembered one thing that had completely slipped my mind during all our indulgences, at which I quickly rinsed off, roughly dried myself, wrapped the towel around me and went to find mum who was sitting on the couch as lost in her thoughts as I had been moments earlier. Although I hadn’t done so for a while, I still felt little enough to jump onto her lap without damage and give her the biggest hug and kiss thank you I could remember with my towel falling away and neither of us noticing nor caring. I then took her hand and led her to my bedroom where, before my shower, I had laid out all my cricket stuff on my bed as though to make a display. I had had no reason to do it, but it became the perfect way to underline my appreciation for all mum’s support. She sat carefully on the edge of my bed, obviously wanting to say something, but instead of any words coming our her mouth a little tear trickled out of the corner of her eye, which was too much for my pent up emotions and I just collapsed in a blubbering heap across my once neat display and for once mum was no better that I was and we just lay there hugging each other almost violently until our flood of happy tears finally dried up and we started tickling each other and giggling which degenerated into wrapping each other up with and otherwise abusing bits of my cricket gear amidst gales of hysterical laughter. Eventually, I conceded that I might need the other half of my interrupted shower, and by the time I had returned to my room, mum had again laid out my cricket gear as it was when she first saw it, but added, in pride of place, my old scorebook lying open at a double page where she had, in complete secrecy from me, scored our whole grand final. I was kind of glad she had gone to get herself ready while I discovered it, because for the minutes it took me to comprehend her surprise gift, I was on the edge of collapsing into another bout of tears that we did not really have time for.
As it was, we were second last to arrive at the Wilkins’s, mum having explained to me on the way over that half the reason she had decided to score the match in secret from our car was that she needed something to keep her occupied so she would not risk any temptation to intrude on what she saw to be our space. Being the youngest of the team, I was still allowed a few liberties without giving offence, and I proceeded to give a big thank you hug and peck on the cheek to Peter Wilkins, to Mrs Kendall who had scored for both my two years cricket, to Mr Kendall for everything he had taught me in the tackers and his continued quiet interest in my progress, and, when he arrived unannounced soon after we had, to Mr Harris for his unending patience with and interest in me on my regular Monday visits to his sports store. I think it was well understood that all those thank-yous were from more than just me, but my older teammates felt a bit more pressure to keep up appearances.
All our families had brought contributions to the food and drink for the evening, and while we tried to do it justice, we obviously were not going to go hungry for breakfast either. We finally jokingly pushed the last of our straggling parents out the gate, leaving just the eleven players from the team, Peter Wilkins and his wife and Jenny, the girl student who I had learnt lived next door, and who had helped Mrs Wilkins all night with keeping the food coming and cleaning up. Their house really was not big enough for what we were putting it through, although nobody minded, so they had managed to farm out their much younger daughters with their grandparents at short notice to free up one more room. Jenny was last to join our little circle still enjoying the late evening warmth and our continuing adrenaline high: “So who wants a swim?” She and Troy went over to the fence between their two properties and showed us how they could move aside a section to give us access to her yard and pool. “Last one in’s a dirty ...” we didn’t hear what as we grabbed for our swimming gear and raced to be changed and in. As there was nowhere near enough space in Troy’s room for us all to get changed at once, half of us grabbed our bags and took them through to next door where we changed without regard to whether Jenny cared about what she might see. Troy fooled Joey into being last by telling him he had forgotten his sunscreen and after we had all taken the excuse to give Joey the pummelling he was more than deserving of, he proceeded to take it all out on the ever closer friend who had tricked him. Peter Wilkins, still fully dressed, finally came in to see how we were doing, and to finally receive the rite of recognition he had weaselled out of earlier, as he was mobbed and thrown without real resistance into the deep end where we proceeded to help him out of all bar his jocks before resuming our attacks.
We finally let him escape, and not long after, Jarod, Troy, Joey and the half of the big six who had changed in Troy’s room decided to head back, leaving the other three, Hayden and me to persist with a few minutes bravado as we started to shiver. Jenny was obviously keeping an eye on us and suggested we night like to shift to the spa now that we were down to a low enough number to all squeeze in. We did, and she asked if we minded if she joined us. We didn’t, and even less so when she undressed on the spot and climbed in naked. One of the boys wasn’t backward in coming forward, which she did not mind in the least and soon we were all all over her, usually two or three at a time, tongue kissing, fondling and sucking her tits, fingering her and letting her pull us off. We worked out later that none of that was totally new to any of us as we had all got at least that far with some or other teenage girl over the summer holidays, even me with a “surplus” fourteen on a couple of nights at Bermagui.
Jenny had told Troy that if we did not make it back to his place earlier, that we night as well use the spare beds at her place, which certainly solved the anticipated space problems. She announced to us that she would be sleeping in her parent’s bed to make sure their room did not get too messed up and that those of us who wanted our own space, could either use her double bed or the twin beds in their spare room. Hayden and I immediately claimed her bed, and were just a little surprised when our opening partner asked to join us, explaining that while his two friends could happily take turns screwing her all night, that it wasn’t quite what he wanted his first proper fuck to be. I warned him that he might be in for more than he bargained for if he spent the night with us and he assured us nobody would ever know. Despite overwhelming tiredness, Hayden was still in a more playful mood than I have known before or since and at the slightest nod from me he reached out and grabbed Jordan and dragged him down in between us where we quickly removed his still damp speedos and proceeded to attack him at both ends. All manner of boy sex kept interrupting a bit of long overdue sleep and finished up with them taking turns to screw my arse before it really was time to get decent in case Troy, who knew exactly what Jenny would be up to, could no longer keep Joey from wanting to check on us. And we soon found we had to carry the other two sleeping boys to the twin beds, because it was clear they had pushed themselves almost to the point of being comatose.
We eventually managed to revive everybody for breakfast and, despite those at the Wilkins’s having had even less sleep than we had, we were all still high enough to be ready for a visit to the beach before the crowds from out west would descend. I was anything but surprised to spot Robbie Vander out in the surf when we arrived, but others on the beach must have been disconcerted when this mob of bigger kids besieged a lone ten year old as though we were an Amerind war party. Robbie even played the part of innocent victim for a while until it all got too funny and one by one we surrendered to laughter. However it didn’t take too many acts of bravado in the surf before we started to run out of steam, and the first couple to head for shore provoked a mass exodus, where we realised that we had just about run out of things we wanted to do, and the bigger realisation hit that we were soon going to have to go back to the rest of our lives. Somebody wondered what we would be doing at our usual cricket practice time on Wednesday and decided that it would be the perfect time to get back together again. Hayden, Jarod and I had brought everything we had with us, so we opted for the shorter trip to the Vander’s from where we would organise getting home, while the others headed back to Troy’s. Before splitting, Hayden gave Joey the nod that we could live with one last Monday session to wind down before putting our cricket stuff away for the winter. And I particularly wanted to go with company to the Vanders, so I could safely let Cherie soak up a bit of my high before it finally subsided.
The only other thing that was arranged for us was the traditional presentation night, but it soon became evident that the lives of eleven boys had become intertwined for a while and we kept running into each other unplanned, right through the school holidays and late into autumn. In fact the whole process got started late that very first afternoon when several of us independently found our way past our clubrooms, some just because it was there and others in the vain hope of hearing that the thirds had been able to get back into their game. But as intense as it all had been for many months, the team as a whole never really got together again. Only six of our eleven were back playing together in Hayden’s final year of Under 14 two years on and they eventually lost a semi to the team we had beaten for our premiership. For our “big six” precocious twelve year olds, the carefree days were soon displaced by the different challenges of teen years. For me, it marked the end of being a little kid who soaked up whatever life presented him with and the start of choosing my own objectives and being prepared to work towards them.