I was sitting out on the front porch, hoping to catch a hint of a breeze to break the evening heat, but there wasn't any breeze to be had. So I pulled a beer out of the ice-filled cooler beside the porch swing, twisted off the top, and settled down to contemplate the shitty state of my life. Truth be told, things had gone to hell early for me and more or less stayed that way ever since.
The first time I was called a queer I had no idea what the word even meant. I was five years old at the time, prancing up and down along the creek that ran beside the house where I grew up. I was wrapped in an old quilt my mother had banished to the attic, waving a stick-or was it a scepter?-at passing cars, then curtsying if they honked or waved. I have the vague memory that I believed I was the ruler of some mythical realm where people like me fit in.
"Eddie Wickham, you're nothing but a stinky queer." Tommy Marks and Joe Purdy were standing on the opposite bank of the creek when they first broke the news. They started lobbing dirt clods at me and hooting. I dropped my stick and fled into the shrubbery, where I stayed till Tommy and Joe were well out of sight.
Even though I didn't know what the word queer meant, I knew enough not to ask my father about it. He was already distant and disapproving, and I didn't want to add any ammunition to his arsenal. I found out what a queer was soon enough-and all about the social consequences of being labeled as one. Other kids in the neighborhood took up the cry, and the die was cast before I entered the first grade.
I endured the name-calling, the bullying, and the social ostracism by retreating even further into my fantasy realm. I surfaced only on those frequent occasions when the bullying escalated to beating and I got my skinny ass smeared all over the playground. I finally got fed up with that when I turned sixteen and sent off for a body-building course that was advertised in a Superman comic book. I admired Superman more for his physique than for his commitment to fighting crime, and figured that if Clark Kent could do it, then so could I.
Much to my surprise the program worked, and I developed muscles where there had been nothing but skin and bones a few months earlier. When the inevitable encounter with the local Neanderthals took place at the beginning of the next school year, nobody was more surprised than I when I creamed Ken Loggins in the hallway outside of English class. I didn't gain any friends from this display of physical prowess, but I never had another black eye, and I was able to walk the halls without fear.
I thought I had a ticket out of Harmonville when I graduated from high school, but another disaster was looming unseen on the horizon. My grades were good-hell, I had nothing to distract me from my studies-and I was favored to win a scholarship to State University. I was elated at the prospect of beginning life anew in a place where nobody knew me-someplace where I'd no longer be called a queer.
As it turned out, Tommy and Joe had been absolutely correct in their assessment of my sexual profile. Up until the end of my senior year, I had never even so much as considered the idea of having sex with anything other than my own right hand. I knew the rumors about who was sleeping with whom in my peer group-I was unpopular, but I wasn't deaf-but I had never been foolhardy enough to act on my feelings for anyone at school. My instincts for self-preservation were strong enough to avoid that type of disaster.
Then, in a weak moment, I accepted an invitation to go to a graduation party. Actually, I was so shocked at having been asked that I failed to heed the many warning signals that anyone in my situation should have noticed. The party was a stag bash thrown by Rex Harper, one of the most popular guys in the senior class-a guy who had never so much as looked at me during the twelve years we'd shared space in the Harmonville school system. Rex actually stopped me in the hall after history class to make sure I was planning to come. Only an idiot could have failed to realize that something was afoot. Naturally, I went.
I arrived, got real nervous, drank too much beer way too fast, and got talked into smoking some pot by Rex. "Come on down in the basement with me, Eddie. We'll toke some reefer."
"Uh...sure, Rex." I'd never toked reefer-or anything else, come to that-but being singled out by the handsome, popular Rex had been irresistible. We stood by a tool-cluttered workbench and smoked till my eyes were glassy.
"Damn, I'm horny." Rex leaned back against the bench, his hand straying down to the prominent bulge in the front of his jeans. "How about you, Eddie?"
"Yeah, me too." Three quick beers and a shared joint-damned right I was horny.
"Suck my cock, man." He pushed me to my knees and unbuttoned his fly in one quick move. At least it seemed quick, although I was having a little trouble focusing at that point. Rex's cock swung up between us and began waving from side to side. Rex looked down at me, took another swig of beer and handed me the bottle. I downed it in one gulp and next thing I knew, my mouth was full of his hard, hot cock.
I liked it-I knew that right away. I liked the feel of it, the taste of it, the whole idea that I was giving this hot jock a blowjob. Me, Eddie Wickham, having sex with Rex Harper. Wow!
I kept sucking, and Rex kept on opening bottles of beer and passing them to me. When I didn't want to come up off his fat hard-on to drink more, Rex drizzled beer along the shaft and I lapped it up as it trickled off the end.
At some point, I heard voices and had a vague notion that there was more than one cock waving in front of me, but I was too far gone to tell for sure. I just kept on drinking more beer and sucking more hard cock, feeling the heat as my face, neck, and torso were splattered with sticky jism.
And then I was flat on my face on some musty blankets spread out near the furnace and somebody was on top of me, pushing my legs apart, jamming something hard and slippery up my asshole. It hurt at first, then it didn't hurt anymore. Then it started to feel really good, and I was groaning and bucking, welcoming the sweaty weight pressing me against the floor, and the hot breath snorted in my ear, and the cold beer gushing against my face as someone tried to jam a bottle between my lips.
The next morning when I woke up, my mouth tasted terrible, my asshole ached something fierce, and I was naked on the basement floor. It was all more than a little fuzzy, but I had vague recollections of servicing an unknown number of drunken, horny seniors down in the furnace room of the house where the party took place. I gathered up what clothing I could find, climbed over the snoring bodies littering the house, and made my way home.
Naturally, word got out about the party, and every day brought new horrors to light. Evidently, I had taken on damn near every guy in the senior class that night, sucking any cock that got shoved my way while wiggling my ass around like a two-bit whore in a lumber camp on payday. The superintendent saw to it that my scholarship was canceled, my father died of a heart attack soon thereafter, and my dreams of starting a new life withered.
Now, here I sat, my twenty-fourth birthday looming on the horizon, still stuck in Harmonville, still an outcast with no one to talk to and no place to go. My world pretty much consisted of television, beer, and my low-wage job in the local factory that produced ball bearings for precision machinery. My mother never missed a chance to tell me that supporting her was the least I could do, since I had killed my father and made her a candidate for welfare. She grumbled that the money I brought home wasn't enough, but any time I offered to quit and look for work in another city, she threatened to have a stroke. Life was a bitch.
I drained my beer and started to go into the house and fix some supper when I saw Charlie Ferrin walking along the street in front of the house. Charlie was my age, but we'd never been in class together because Charlie had always lagged a couple of grades behind me. He'd quit school as soon as he turned sixteen and gone to work at the local Texaco.
Charlie had never been a friend, but he had saved me from serious injury on more than one occasion when I was the school punching bag. I suspect that he intervened more for the joy of a fistfight than from any noble feelings about defending the underdog, but he had enabled me to escape from my tormentors a number of times, so I had a soft spot for him in my memory.
Over the intervening years, the soft spot had turned into something a bit harder. I'd always thought Charlie Ferrin was the sexiest man I'd ever laid eyes on. Charlie actually had biceps when he was ten and hair on his chest at an age when the rest of us were fruitlessly searching for pubic hairs. Time had done nothing but make his body bigger and harder. Nature had also given him chiseled good looks and thick raven hair that he wore long so it brushed his broad shoulders. Charlie Ferrin was fodder for some of my hottest wet dreams.
Poor Charlie had also had his share of tough luck since he left school. After countless juvenile scrapes, he had beaten the living shit out of some guy in a nearby town during an argument. Nobody ever found out what the argument was about, but it didn't much matter for Charlie-he was sent up for assault and battery. After he got out of prison, Ted Smith wouldn't give him his job back at the gas station, so he'd started doing odd jobs to keep his parole officer happy. The Widow Staley, who lived next door to us, had been one of the few people in town who'd actually hired him. I guess everyone else was afraid of him.
I prayed for my neighbor to have Charlie come around on weekends so I could be there to enjoy the show. Charlie sometimes wore baggy old bib overalls when he came to do chores for the widow, and anybody who cared to look could catch glimpses of Charlie's splendid physical assets. There were buttons on the sides of the overalls, but Charlie rarely bothered with them, an oversight that bared his silken flanks and exposed a fair portion of his tight furry ass. His impressive chest and incredible arms were also much in evidence, making Charlie a sight to behold.
Today, it was hot and humid, and Charlie had stripped down to a pair of tight, faded Levi's. The sight of the sunlight glinting off the silky fur that coated his sculpted chest made my heart beat faster. While I was focusing on the dusky brown nipples that crowned his spectacular pecs, Charlie looked my way. I smiled and waved jauntily. He saw me, and he may-or may not-have nodded. I went inside the house, feeling uplifted.
I fried up some chicken and steamed some vegetables, then sat in the dining room and ate while my mother complained about the reception on the television in her bedroom. I wasn't listening too closely, but I got the general idea that she wanted me to work enough overtime to be able to afford a new set for her. I said something noncommittal and hustled her back to her room so I could clean up the kitchen.