by Blake Dawson* <>

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.

Chapter 32: Colin

Our ‘test team’ for the walk to and from school had had three changes in the early and middle order for what was my third time round, two having finished school, two having just started school to replace them, one shifting out of the area and my regained Under 14 cricket teammate Aaron having shifted back in. But with stability in the tail it was not something I gave much thought to, until during the last week of first term, just after we had finished cricket as credible runners up to the team which beat Gary’s in the semi, Aaron showed that the group could mean a bit more to a newbie and invited all the rest of us to call in at his place for an hour on the way home on the Thursday for a little break up. And we did. And he surprised us in a place that was really only big enough for him and his mother by providing drinks and nibbles that he had obviously organised by himself.

As soon as we were back from the holidays, he asked what my commitments were during the winter terms on the nights I reserved for cricket in the summer terms. I told him about Mondays at Harris’s and Warren and Buster and helping Natalie out of her straightjacket, but it soon boiled down to me having no real reason to turn down his suggestion that we could spend an hour or so at one or other’s house on Wednesdays. He claimed that even though Rusty was still his mate in class, as Robbie Vander was still mine, that seeing as we lived reasonably close, we could probably each use a handy friend our own age. Those arrangements established, whatever game he was trying to play switched back to the same glacial slowness as everything else to do with out ‘test team’.

On the weekend between our 14th birthdays, I turned up at Gary Marshall’s without any firm arrangements, although we had agreed that we didn’t see 14 as reason for a special gathering, and we were more than due for one of our occasional Saturday evenings together. I was eventually to learn that my summer time over-friendly rival hadn’t given me another thought when a more exciting prospect had appeared, but his father’s warm welcome when I turned up at his door left me in the dark for quite a while. Over the year and a half Gary and I had been in and out of each other’s lives, I had also gotten to know his father well and genuinely enjoy a few long talks with Brendan who has been particularly happy to share his many memories as a young sportsman. And I had long ago kept my promise to myself to enjoy him sexually as well, which Gary was happy to leave me space for, even while Brendan made me go through the motions of seducing him anew each time.

On that near birthday visit, I must have been gassing to Brendan for nearly an hour, before it dawned on me that Gary wasn’t even home. But the story was worth waiting for, and so typical of the boy’s unshakeable ego. He had long befriended what he claimed were the only two 15 year old girls in Sydney under such oppressive parental supervision that he could not get to even talk to them outside the context of a church youth group which he joined for that purpose alone. But finally on that night the girls had achieved a sufficient position of trust with their parents that they were allowed to stay home with the company of two more of their trusted girl friends under the hawkish implicit supervision of a busybody downstairs neighbour. The plans had obviously been long in the making as the fourth girl would have passed for Gary’s twin and they capitalised on this by swapping back and forth near the corner shop as the two visiting girls managed to convince the neighbour that they needed extra milk in the evening and an early paper in the morning. This ensured Gary’s “twin” was there to satisfy the parents before they left and after they returned, while my impostering mate had the hours in between to service the demands of the three desperates, which he took as good enough reason to do a thorough job of matched cross dressing.

Brendan was not just in on all of this, but thoroughly amused by it. Our seemingly endless conversation was only interrupted by snacks and beverages and a late call to one of his usual Saturday night companions excusing himself because his son was “out on a hair-brained adventure from which he might need to be rescued.” As it turned out Gary staggered in under his own steam when it had been light for an hour and went straight to his own room in blissful ignorance of my presence, and I was eventually greeted by a sumptuous breakfast in Brendan’s bed before freshening up and deciding I might see what I could find to do with a loose Sunday afternoon, seeing as Brendan really did have some paperwork to catch up on.

Down just one flight of stairs, I unexpectedly found my answer. A lanky blonde eleven year old was helping his mother jostle an empty wardrobe around a tight corner, and I automatically gave them a hand. They had taken possession of their new home the day before and were doing their own moving in a borrowed van. After it had really taken the three of us to move a couple of the bigger items, I suggested that we could unload the rest downstairs so that Colin and I could carry it up while Mrs Barker drove back to Campbelltown to pick up their next load. The carrying did not take quite as long as we had imagined, so Colin suggested we could start to get his room set up seeing as all his stuff had been in the first load. This revolved around assembling his custom built bunk unit which had upper and lower bunks butting into the same corner but with their long sides along different walls. By the time we had worked that all out and got the bunks made up and most of his clothes away, his mother rang on the mobile she had left with him to say she was only just leaving Campbelltown, and I suggested where she might pick up a couple of real burgers for us on her way through Newtown.

The few bits of clothing Colin had left out, he then decided to use for a fashion parade which became an excuse for him to show off more and more of his slim but developing body and probe for some reaction. It was easy to play appreciative audience and then start to tease gently, and didn’t take long for him to show that he went to bed starkers. This time I made the excuse that the shifting must have been hard on him to give him a massage. We both seemed to know where we were heading, so I planted a brief kiss on his forehead, but he almost flawed me by asking whether I was carrying a condom. In my usual state of preparedness, he insisted that I fuck his arse then and there and said he would only tell me why after we finished. I clearly was not going to win any argument about building relationships, as he already knew I only visited Gary every couple of months, so I had to be content with giving him a bit of gentler attention and affection as we wound down.

I finally got his explanation in the shower. He had this deep need to know how you could get pleasure from being the recipient of anal intercourse, because his father had died of AIDS a few months earlier, having been HIV positive since just after Colin was born. His parents had met through the gay and lesbian community and had become good enough friends to share regrets about not being likely to have children and then to decide to do something about it. They opted to try to act out a conventional life at the far end of suburbia while allowing each a little time out to release their sexuality, but things went wrong very early when his father placed mistaken trust in an old friend. Fortunately, their mutual lack of desire for anything beyond procreational sex and the rapid education of the gay community meant his father did not pass the virus to his mother, nor to anybody else. And he stayed well enough to keep working until his final months, but as the end neared, the three of them decided that it would be best for his mother and Colin to move back to the inner suburbs where she would be more able to access the resources of her old stamping ground.

By the time we had the next load half in, the little apartment block started to show signs of life. I knew Gary and Brendan’s friend Adam was en route back to his lover for the US summer vacation, so was hardly surprised when Adam’s mother and her younger lady friend arrived home still beaming from what had obviously been a big night. Then we nearly dropped Mrs Barker’s mattress on Gary as he stumbled down stairs on some never completed mission that was forgotten in his surprise at finding me there, let alone still there, and I took perverse pleasure in introducing him to his new neighbours. He found himself giving us a hand with the last bits and we were just about to call it a day when Adam’s mother wandered out and invited us all in to her place for a late afternoon tea so the new neighbours could all meet, and Gary was sent to rouse his father.

It was by far the most sumptuous “afternoon tea” I have ever faced, but by then I was hungry enough from work and play to do more than my share of justice to it. The chit chat was more about introducing the one absent resident than anything else when the phone rang right next to me: “Your ears burning? ... You have your number right, but where the hell are you? ... Too early for a perve at the meat market? ... And I think I know you better than anybody else I’ve never met, and speaking of never met, you should see who I’ve just moved in downstairs ... Brendan’s having flashbacks to the day he first met you and your mother ... and anyway, who do you want to talk to?” at which Colin grabbed the handset and proceeded to ham up a little fag act which nearly had the other six of us rolling around the floor.

That Wednesday was Aaron’s turn to come to my place, and as he was well aware of my friendship with Gary through cricket, it was natural to start to tell him a bit about my weekend visit. I was probably still sensitive over the fight I had had with Aaron nearing the end of my hated sixth grade and eliminated even the physically friendly behaviour that I would readily engage in with others who I knew to be completely straight. Yet somehow his interest got me past the point I would have normally cut the Colin story without thinking and I found I did not actually know whether Colin had finally got his answer about enjoying the receptive role. I was sure he must have, both because of his warmth through the rest of the afternoon and because I knew very well it was more than possible: “Had you ever been screwed properly before that silly fight we had?” Some layers had been peeled back. I well recalled that even though it was soon to change that I had not really been at that point, but wanted to know what connection he was making. “I just thought you would not have directed that kick quite so accurately if you had understood what damage you could do.” Well I definitely had known what I wanted to use my arse for and I still believed that that kick had been no more or no less than all the other feeble contacts we had made during our fight. So I told him that his reaction had caught me completely by surprise, although seeing as I had no other experience of fighting to compare it with, I did not have a strong opinion. He also showed without saying that we had taken it far enough for that afternoon.

On the Friday night I arrived at Walshie’s to find him busy putting the final touches on our cricket club’s annual report which he was happy enough to let me glance through on the condition I kept it to myself. The various individual reports said nothing notable about a season that had been solid but unspectacular at most levels, our Under 14s effort in making the grand final being the best team performance, and I was quick to question why no mention was made of Hayden making Pennant firsts which I thought was really our club’s biggest success for the season, and one which Walshie immediately agreed to do something about before the report went to the printers.

That left me with just the financial report to study in depth, in part because neatly laid out tables of figures have to be studied in depth if you are going to get anything at all out of them. And I soon found something which reminded me of something that I had long been meaning to ask about: “During the last year or so have you ever received a mysterious donation?” “Well, we got one before last years AGM which I felt justified to leave out of the books for last season until I worked out what it was about, then four more turned up at different times during the past year. Seeing they were all marked payable to our club with the words ‘Building Fund’ added, I figured we ought to open a Building Fund account and put them in it. Why do you ask?” “Well I might know something about them, but the total still looks very high, and I am more than amazed that all five promises were honoured.” “You are only making it more mysterious, but it might help you to know that one was a very substantial amount in American dollars which became an even bigger number when it was converted. In fact it was more than the rest combined. So what do you know about them?” “Well has your nine months in the Dawson family business toughened you up enough for me to take you on a journey you might find discomforting?” “I have certainly learnt that you are your own person and that has not stopped me working at your place and you spending every Friday night here, so I guess it might have.”

So I bit the bullet and explained that in looked like they might all be money that people wanted to give me but did not have on hand at the time so insisted I give them some way of getting it to me. The very first time I came up with this idea of the cricket club building fund which I intended to give the bloke a way to just forget about it, seeing as I really did not want nor need his money, and then just stuck with it for others that claimed the same need. “Well I’m glad I found out about it tonight. I can take it out of the Annual Report and transfer the account to its rightful owner and nobody will be the wiser.” He clearly wasn’t listening properly: “I already told you I did not want their money, and seeing as you already have it in a Building Fund, that looks more and more like a bloody good idea.” He at least conceded that starting to get some money together so we could improve our clubrooms was probably a good idea.

“So am I supposed to guess why these mysterious people wanted to pay you such sums of money?” “You are getting impatient, so I suppose I should make you guess.” “Well I think I would rather not, so I will let you continue to tell me your way.” “If you know you might not like it, then you already know enough for me to make you guess.” “Well I guess it was not for your good looks.” “In one case you are definitely wrong. The only things he was interested in doing were talking to me, listening to me and looking at me. Yet he still thought an evening of that was worth a lot more than he had in his pocket. Even worse, it was me that talked him into spending the evening with me, and clearly not something he had envisaged.” “So you get well paid for providing therapy to a stranger, and the others were worse than that? ... Maybe we had better stop before I learn more than I want to know.” “Well form my perspective, the others were better. One was even pretty good. The American one was even weirder than the oversized payment. And the other two were entirely forgettable, except that one of them led to me being enlisted for a strange adventure.”

Walshie seemed very relieved that I did not fill in the gaps, and I was more than pleased that he had come far enough to accept the possibility at face value without hostility, but showed his naïveté with such matters by asking why all these people who expected that they should pay actually did not have the means at hand. “In part, in these cases, because it was entirely my initiative, but it might help you put it in context to know that I have more than four times as much in a savings account that I have much less idea what to do with.” “Well at least you play safe with your money, and I trust that is not all you play safe with.” I pulled a soft package from my pocket and opened it to expose several condoms and a couple of tubes of KY. Their reality took a while to sink it, but at least his curiosity was lubricated, and he readily admitted having trouble reconciling my seemingly overfull life with what he could only see as evidence of idle time: “Just remember. I am an oversexed fourteen year old,” which I emphasised to make the point that I was finally, and this time irreversibly, out of his precious Under 14s, “who needs to get off three times a day on average, usually at my own hand, just so I can focus on the rest of my life. Once a week I come here and go home totally frustrated,” I exaggerated as I had long got quite used to it and given up any serious expectations, “and maybe once in three weeks I get desperate enough to pick up a substitute.” “Hang on, you can’t blame me.” “Well let me let you in on the fact that the first time I ever picked up a stranger was several weeks after Joey and Troy got out of my way here. ... On the other hand I keep coming back, so I’m sure ‘blame’ is much too strong a word ... ‘thank’ more likely as it really is an education and a lot of fun.”

“Look Blake, I really do not want to believe any of this and I equally do not want to hear any more details.” “But five anonymous donations are hard to argue with?” I walked around behind where he was sitting and put my hands on his shoulders and started to massage: “I know future intentions cannot be as strong a truth as past events, but I need you to also believe that if you will concede to finding out what it is like to go at least a little bit of the way for my birthday, then I will never ask again.” The facts were that I had long past given up on the hopes I once held for our Friday nights and, especially since his involvement in the business, the last thing I wanted was to give Walshie any reason to try to substitute for the father I had never learnt to need. But for one night I wanted to counterbalance those facts with the fact that that night might be the only chance there would ever be to breakdown the barriers within himself that had so quickly ended his marriage. “I’m even prepared to wear pyjamas.” He eventually grabbed my massaging fingers and held them until I clearly understood his answer without a spoken word.

We climbed into his bed from opposite sides and lay far enough apart that our first contact was just fingers, but their games gradually drew us closer and soon we were hugging bodies and our lips came into gentle play. He was lying more on his back with me more on my face beside him from where I threw my thighs across his groin and commenced rubbing my dick more and more conspicuously against his hip, but still through a couple of layers of cloth. I found a chance to pull his hand down in the general direction, any he took the hint, although it still took a while for him to slip it inside the final layer and get me there for the first time. I let my hand take over where my inside thigh had left off and took even more time before making clear flesh contact, but soon his body remembered what his mind had long blocked. I held him through his reluctant recovery until he noticed I was again thoroughly aroused and moved to help which prompted me to roll back to offer a different angle, which I was more than thrilled he decided to tackle with his mouth. But that was enough of a step for one night, as well as a step we were both happy to step back from so that more important parts of our relationship were not compromised.

The next Wednesday it was my turn to have trouble explaining my feelings as Aaron managed to keep me on the defensive without the slightest suggestion of intent. No, I just did not ask myself that question about him because my one fight so dominated my reaction to him to the point where he was still, two and a half years on, the kid I’d had the fight with. But yes, during the fight, I at times had thought the whole thing was more erotic than violent. It was just that minor erotic moments were a dime a dozen in my life so that aspect had rapidly faded behind my one and only, and still then half hearted, attempt at violence. He told me I could invite him for dinner the next week as what he had to tell me was going to take a while. I even convinced mum to give herself a night out while I fed myself and my visitor, and he dropped in at his place on the way past to leave a note saying he would be home very late, and without any suggestion of where he was going or how he might be contacted.

He started on his mother. He hated her so much that he was determined just to use her to get everything he could out of her in preparation to dumping her out of his life the moment he was finished with her. And Aaron had taught himself that patience was the way to go about that to most effect. He hated her because of where her attempts at control over him and his father had ultimately driven them both, which took him back to what his family had been, at least up until the night before our fight. And quite soon I came to realise that it wasn’t having a fight with me that dominated his thinking but rather that I was the friendly rival who was, by chance, the first person who had given him the time and space to help him down the track when his world was falling in on him, and who he was again turning to as the first person to share its resolution. Yet at no point could I bring myself to feel like properly hugging him and he was particularly thankful for that.

Home had been just mum and dad and him plus many of her extended family on the periphery, but none of his father’s because he hailed from the other side of the planet and his mother insisted that only family and not work or school friends were welcome to be part of their lives, in one swoop giving herself the complete upper hand in her quest to dominate them totally. The one chink in her game plan was that she actually had to work hard and often long to maintain the illusion and some trappings of success that she demanded to match her illusion of control. And the thing that her domineering had forced and her absences fostered was Aaron and his father being each other’s main outlet, so they became closer and closer, but always in private. He was certain it was his own reflex arousal that had encouraged the crossing the line which his father long feigned reluctance about, but still ultimately allowed to settle into a happy pattern of getting Aaron off with a head job and himself with his own hand with son cuddled close before usually demanding a second head job. But his father also increasingly found another escape in the form of alcohol, although at least when he increasingly came home increasingly drunk he completely avoided any contact with Aaron.

That was until the night before our fight. It had been a pre-Christmas Friday night “out with the boys” and even his mother hadn’t bothered waiting up to abuse him, yet somehow he managed to sneak in and into Aaron’s bed without causing any disturbance. Aaron had also learnt enough about social attitudes to the kind of thing that he and his father were doing to have formed some strong opinions of his own, and was more than happy to initiate the usual play with his very drunk father for a bit of sexual release, but in the moment of change where he would normally start “helping” his father with his turn, he found himself trapped under a heavily drunken body and being brutally penetrated in a part of him that had never been touched in all their play. His only memory was of all consuming pain and desperately hanging on while his alcohol impeded father took “for ever” to finally climax. But in the back of his mind the facts he had collected about incestuous abuse also started to fuse into something even more frightening than what his body was feeling and Aaron came to believe that his father would simply kill him when he was finished so that he would be relieved the burden of living on as “spoiled goods”.

It had turned out differently, because his father had immediately passed out into a drunken stupor. And Aaron eventually found he was able to extricate himself and get into his cricket clothes which were out ready for the morning, grab his bag and get out of there, equally terrified of waking his mother as of waking his father. He managed to stay out of sight until he felt it safe to turn up at our cricket ground an hour before he expected to see anybody else there. He also started to come to terms with the extent of his physical injury and gradually to gain confidence that he could maintain a pretence, particularly as his real worry was that his mother would turn up to start what he then saw as the inevitable process of bringing the only world he knew crashing down. After I had turned up quite a bit earlier than everybody else in the final depths of my black mood of that year, it dawned on him that he might just have a bit of time and space in which to try to effect the outcome and capitalised on both our moods to push our nominal rivalry into more visible antipathy which set the climate for the fight we would have when the two of us were again left after just about everybody else had gone. Getting through and beyond the game without any sign of his mother or father had started to suggest the possibility that one or the other or both of them had got killed rather than him, and he quickly slipped into fantasies about how it really all might be turning out for his good. So, to cover contingencies, he provoked our fight with the sole aim of getting my foot up his arse to provide reason for any injury that might subsequently be revealed. He just had not realised that any violent contact there on top of his by then hours old injury was going to be excruciatingly painful. But even then the explosion of possibility soon had his mind in control of his pain and he was particularly hopeful he had been orphaned when his favourite aunt finally turned up to “find” him still at the club long after our game had finished.

He had also envisaged some more mundane outcomes, so was not surprised to learn that the aunt had been summonsed to collect him because his mother “was having some difficulties.” He finished up staying on at his aunt’s until the holidays, then going away with a couple of different sets of relatives. He got the clear message that his mother and father were irreconcilable and a few relayed messages that she needed him to support her claims, but he quickly found she was about as popular with the rest of her family the moment her back was turned as she was with him. “Finally, only days before I was to start high school, the social worker I had long been preparing myself to face turned up. Her line was that it would be much easier if I told her what my father had done, and she could help get me back home with my mother, as it was her job to think I should be. I’d become pretty tough minded in the interim and was not going to be a party to my father paying a lifetime for one drunken mistake. And it soon became obvious that he was not going to corroborate anything beyond being so drunk that he had no idea how or when he got home. I laughed out loud when the claims of evidence were finally revealed to have been promptly put in the washing machine by my mother, and proceeded to put the professional meddler on her back foot when I linked what I was then able to safely call fabricated evidence with my reluctance to have anything further to do with my mother. But it was obvious I was going to have an either or choice and I could not continue to bludge off the rest of the family indefinitely. So it was settled that my mother would move out of the house, my father who had definitely got his life under better control having decided to stand up to her. And I conceded that I still did not expect my father to be able to keep house, so my final deal with the social worker was that I would never see her or any of her kind again if I agreed to give living back with my mother a reasonable shot.”

It had meant going to another school for two years, but he had family support to play out the rest of that cricket season and, after a season away, to come back for the start of our final Under 14 season once he had made it clear that if his mother did not shift back to our area once the divorce was settled that he would go and live with his father who by then was at least as reliable, if still less competent. They had re-established some contact and his father generously supplemented Aaron’s allowance considering what little he must have had left after also paying maintenance. “So now that I have finally shared my skeletons with the only person I know who might understand, I need to get on to what I came here for which is to start the process of unblocking a few things about sex.” The strange thing was that I knew for sure, and was completely happy, that this was not any kind of invitation to do anything. So I was left carrying the can for my only two close age mates from both cricket and school, who were clearly best mates but who had equally clearly not been in any position to provide the mutual support they both desperately needed.

During Aaron’s first two years at the other high school, he had toughened himself up to the point of earning the kind of reputation they were glad to be rid of, and which only increased his amusement at my continued focus on my one and only fight. It finally got down to him having an expectation of leading a conventional life with a wife and kids, but, despite having picked up enough knowledge to bluff his way past a professional social worker, he still did not have confidence that no mythologised “consequences” might not one day come back to haunt him. At least he had come to the right person: “Those consequences will be far too busy haunting me to even give you a thought.” But it was clearly going to take more than good humour, and my mind could still not get past the link with Rusty, so I decided to tackle it as directly as I could without breaching confidences. There was certainly nothing unusual about a couple of straight fourteens engaging in some mutual exploration that would help prepare them to tackle the opposite sex, and they were both more than competent at keeping private things private. Aaron’s mother was also one of the few people that Rusty’s parents might be prepared to trust, and she certainly would never admit to anything short of total supervision of the boys.

With the deed of telling the story and the need both done, I figured I could use a brisk walk to Aaron’s place, where I managed my best conspiratorial and non-erotic hug. Unrolling the future reverted to our usual test team pace, involving slowly negotiated revelations, even with the obvious involvement of Chalk and Cheese who I was sure had a big influence on me being dragged into the whole affair. But the framework was eventually established for Rusty to spend increasing time at Aaron’s so that they could become truly the friends they though they were. They did and they did and they did.