Beer And Camping  
by   Gabriel Duncan

   We are both sitting under a tree.  This is some national park in California.  I'm camping here.  We're in the shade on a clear, blue, wonderful summer day.  Did I just say “wonderful”?  I'm supposed to be straight.  I'm not gay.  I like girls, pussy, box, muff.  I don't buy Playboy and Hustler because I just want to fit in with my friends here and hide my complete disinterest in girls.  And I don't read the columns directed towards the perverts' girlfriends.  I have a girlfriend; and she's not the kind of girlfriend that I sit around with, eat popcorn and gawk at fashion magazine ads that feature a cute boy.  That's not me.  I have sex with her.  I'm a lady killer.  I had sex with her on Friday, before I came up here.
     Here we are: my scoutmaster and I.  We're drinking beer and “bird watching.”  My scoutmaster just took one last swig of his beer and handed me his binoculars.  He told me there was a nice bird sunning across the water on top of a rock.  We're a hundred or so feet from the lake in front of us.  Anyway, that bird, she's wearing a pink bikini.  If I were a heterosexual adolescent boy, I would be interested.  I zoomed in on the dude behind her wearing red Speedos.
     Jason--my scoutmaster --handed me another beer.  I've had six beers in the past hour to his three.  He's been trying to get me drunk for the past eight days.  My scoutmaster is slurring his words a bit.  I lit a cigarette for us to share.  He had trouble taking the cigarette out from between my fingers.  His binoculars were resting between us now.  Jason started talking about guns.  I was already gone.  I wanted to go back to my tent and sleep.
     “Hey, Jason,” I said, “I'm going to take a nap.”
     “Alright, man.”  He smiled and wanted help up from me.  “Do you want someone to wake you up for chow?”
     And, with those last words, I went into my tent and slept.  Jacob, his son, woke me up.  This wasn't any kind of formal dinner.  We didn't have to wear our Class A's (scout uniform) and sit at a table with a couple of hundreds other scouts.  Instead, we lit a lantern and cooked on a propane stove.  Unfortunately, someone forgot to fill the big propane tank before we came up here.  So we had to settle for luke warm meat.
     Jason looked a little bit less loaded when we were all gathered around and eating.  Ted asked him if he was okay.  Jason said that he was, he was just tired.  I was sure at that moment that none of these scouts had seen anyone loaded in their life.  Except for maybe Gherret and Noah; who, by the way, had been kicked out just last summer when they were discovered sharing a joint in the bathroom.  There's something in that oath or slogan or law that says we can't do such things.  But the Scout Oath and Slogan are more guidelines than they are rules.  So what the hell, right?  We are supposed to be “morally straight” (whatever that means) and I've a lot of things so far that I wouldn't even consider straight.
     Anyway, dinner was done now, so we set out on a night hike.  Jason and I taught the scouts how to navigate at night.  In the woods, if you look straight up and you can clearly see the sky, you're on a trail.  Trails are cut paths, no trees or brush grow directly on a trail.  If you were not on a trail, there would be too many trees in your view to see the sky.  And, in that case, you're shit out of luck.
     Jason took his opperitunity for some quality time with me when he arranged for another scout to lead the others.  He held me back until we were out of ear shot of the others.
     “What's up, dude?”  I may be trying to act straight.  But there's no way in hell I am going to act naïve.
     “Not much,” He smiled at me.  “I just thought you could use a little time away from them.”
     “They aren't that much of a handful.  Thanks, though.”

     Try to act gracious.  But not too gracious.
     Be thankful.  But don't offer to repay him for the favor.
     Shake his hand.  But don't go down on him.

     Then we talked about different things.  Soon, Jason and I stepped into a large clearing.  The rest of our troop had turned out their lights and were pointing out constellations.  Someone was taking the astronomer's badge.  He was pointing at Orion and said he was Ursa Major (the Big Dipper).
     “Are you enjoying camp so far?”  Jason's breath seemed to have whiskey in it now.
     I looked at him, his pretty blue bedroom eyes.  His was mouth slightly agape.  Here was this thirty-something year old man with a wife and a son who I had been fucking ever since I joined.  Not the wife too.  Though, that would be a trip.  His face was closer to mine now.  It was poking at my personal bubble.  I wanted to tell him camp was ending in two days.

     Seem interested in what he has to say.  But not too interested.
     Accept his whiskey.  But don't accept his invitations to bunk with him.
     Help him keep the members of our troop under control.  But don't control his member.

     A half an hour spent in the clearing under the stars was enough.  You can tell this when people start to get tired.  The same boy was in charge of leading us back to camp.  Jason and I stayed behind again.
     “Do you have a girlfriend?”  That took a few seconds to come out correctly.  He had to try it a few times.
     “Yeah,” Of course, a stud like me should always have a girlfriend.  I mean, you have to set a good example for the other scouts.  Let them think there's some sort of honeymoon in Italy and a white picket fence waiting for you back in good ole Alameda.

     You're sixteen.
     You're still in scouts.
     And you're definatly gay if you don't have a girlfriend.  Trust me.
     Lights were traveling farther down the trail.  But Jason and I, we were taking our sweet time.  Proceeding slowly “pleasantly forward”; I mean, straight.  “What's her name?”
     Oh hell, what does Jacob turn into?  “Uh . . . Jessica.”
     “Are you two a serious thing?”  He looked me in the eyes this time.  Our amble turned into a dead stop.
     I could sense something else poking at my personal bubble this time.  I'm not naïve, and neither are you.  Use your imagination.  The scouts were out of earshot now.  Even the lights were dim.  There was nothing but silence.
     “Every Tuesday,” I replied.
     Drunken laughter ensued as we walked farther down the path.

     At camp, the lanterns were dim, and the scouts were playing cards.  Or chess, or sharing dirty jokes they heard from their friends.  Remember that voodoo dildo?
     Twenty bucks says, a Mormon Boy Scout has never even heard of a dildo.
     Twenty bucks says that, if I had a dildo, they wouldn't be Mormon anymore.
     Twenty bucks says that, when you can hear the bedsprings creak in the middle of the night.  It's someone thinking about the lifeguard.

     Jason and I passed jokes back and forth until it was lights out for the kids.  Jason and I sat around.  We finished our second bottle of whiskey.  Jason had managed to sneak his way closer with every pour.  We were talking about something.  Maybe about the Giants or the Niners.  Maybe the meaning of life.  Maybe about how his kid was doing in school.  Maybe that's how his hand landed on my knee.  Somehow, Jennifer or Jessica or Josephine comes up again.  He talks about his son, and how he thinks he might be gay.

     Don't sound surprised.  But don't tell him you had his legs spread on Friday.
     Light his cigarette.  But don't offer to own his sex life for seven years.
     Pat him on the shoulder and compliment his son-- and his father for bringing him up so well.  But don't offer to show him how well.

     His face is close again.  And his eyes are slightly glazed.  But they're still a pretty blue.  Like the sky.  There's a fleck of green right next to his retina.  Just like his son.  He moves closer, for checkmate.  And I yawn and tell him I need to sleep.  Just like his son, Jacob in the bed next to mine.
I kiss Jacob good night and close up my sleeping bag to keep away from whatever may have lurked into our tent as we went out for our hike.

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