Standing, stretching to sort out the kinks, so to speak, I yawned, announcing, “If I’m taking you two,” pointing at Ray and Carl, “fishing early in the morning, I need to get some sleep.”
“But, we want to hear the rest of the story,” protested Ray. “Why was Cracker living there?”
“And so you shall, but not tonight. It’ a busy day tomorrow; fishing in the morning and an all you can eat chicken dinner in the evening.”
Evidently, the promise of a chicken dinner placated Ray enough to forgo continuing the rest of my story. Now that I think about it, I’d venture a guess it probably was the fishing trip which had the biggest effect on his decision. I say postponing, because I knew very well, there was no way they’d go back to Iowa without hearing the whole tale.
Ray and Carl trooped upstairs to their bedroom. I mentioned to Elgee and Rick we’d probably stop at “Spooners” for breakfast after we finished fishing, wondering if they wanted me to swing by and pick them up so they could join us.
“Nah,” Rick answered, “we’ll find something to nibble on here,” and cast Elgee a small, but lascivious smile and a wink.
If he thought his smile, wink, and quiet suggestion of what he intended to do in the morning was noticed only by his boyfriend, he was mistaken; I caught it as well. When David was still alive, it wasn’t unusual for us to wake in an amorous mood as well. Oh, to be young and in love!
Before I climbed into bed, I sat a moment and told David of all that happened that day and what I had planned for the next. It always comforted me somewhat, thinking his spirit wasn’t far from my side, awake or asleep, watching after me as he used to in the flesh. It really was this time of the night, just before falling asleep or in the dark of the night if I should wake, I’d miss him most of all. I missed his warm embrace, his loving words comforting me, and just having him close to me! Some of the losses I’d suffered before paled to losing him.
My thermos was filled with coffee and I was just finishing a cup of the brew I’d poured prior to filling the thermos, when the thundering of feet rumbled down the stairs and Ray and Carl popped into the kitchen. They were dressed in jeans, tennis shoes, baseball caps, tee-shirts, and jackets. Amidst their concern they were late, while assuring them it was only five-fifteen and they weren’t, I set my empty cup aside, filled the soft-sided insulate cooler with a couple of bottles of apple juice, bottles of water, and several breakfast bars.
“You’re right on time,” I said.
Actually, anytime they appeared would have been “right on time” as far as I was concerned. We were in life jackets, had the boat backed out of the boat house, and motoring down the lake toward South Arm by five-thirty. They hustled, anxious to be fishing. I stopped at the dock of the small bait shop near the county road bridge and bought a couple dozen night crawlers for Bluegills and a dozen Fat Head minnows for Northern Pike. We’d hook the minnows to the “Mister Twister” and “Beatle Spin” spinner baits we’d troll behind the boat after we finished fishing for Bluegills.
Bait purchased, I motored under the bridge and about half-way down the east shore of South Arm, cut the big motor, and let the boat drift near the weed beds along the shore line. There was about five to six feet of water here, just off of the weed beds, and perfect for Bluegills and other fish to hide from the larger predator fish, such as the Northern.
“Let’s bait up,” I announced, expecting to have to help.
Ray and Carl were not unfamiliar with the routine and procedures since they’d already baited their hooks, and were flipping the baited hooks to the edge of the weed bed before I had a chance to lower the electric trolling motor I used to move the boat, positioning it from one place to another. I heard a “yes,” looked up, and Ray was reeling in a scrappy, fat, eight inch or so Bluegill.
“What size are we keeping today, Uncle Levi?” he asked.
“About eight inch or larger; about the size of that one,” I replied. “There are some really nice Bluegills in this end of the lake. I’ve caught them in excess of a pound and half; not many, but some.”
Ray whispered something to Carl, who responded, “Hard or soft?”
I didn’t need to hear the initial question to comprehend what was asked.
“Drop it in the live well and catch some more.”
In less than an hour, they’d saved thirty really nice Bluegills in the live well, most running a pound or so, and released many other smaller ones.
“Enough,” I announced, “we’ll troll for Northern on our way back to the bridge.”
Trolling was a way of fishing both boys heard of but never tried. It basically is motoring slowly at a speed just fast enough to keep from snagging on the bottom or at the depth you want your lure or bait to fish, by dragging the bait behind the boat past or over underwater habitat you’d expected a fish to lurk, hoping it’d mistake your artificial lure or bait for something to eat. I explained the boys had to cast their baits out from the boat, set the drag, and let the bait do the fishing. It really was quite boring, to some, until you had a strike.
“A Northern will strike hard, so keep a tight hold on your pole or you’ll lose it,” I warned as I tuned us toward the bridge and instructed Ray and Carl to start fishing.
Carl was the first to have a strike. It took little instruction from me to caution him to keep the rod tip up, work the fish to the net so, if we didn’t keep it, we could release it quickly, lessening wearing the fish out, and giving it a better chance to survive. They both were very adept at it, having battled catfish on the Mississippi. When Carl had the strike, Ray immediately reeled in his line so they wouldn’t become entangled. After a brief, but lively battle, he brought the fish to net and, after a quick measurement, at twenty-eight inches in length, it was snapped on a wire stringer, and attached to the side of the boat, where it’d stay until we motored up to leave the area.
I barely shifted the motor into gear to begin our slow troll, when Ray had a strike. Once netted, the thirty inch Northern joined the other on the stringer, but not before he had the opportunity to examine the long, razor sharp, pointed teeth in the fish’s mouth. Looking at them, he sort of swallowed, furrowed his brows in contemplation, and asked me,
“Are Northern’s common in this lake?”
“I suppose,” he responded thoughtfully, “we better start wearing our swim suits from now on. Hate to lose my best friend.”
As we continued to fish, I discovered why the boys were such experienced fishermen. Their dad owned a sixteen foot flat riverboat, and loved to fish on his time off. They went along every chance they got. Most of their fishing was for Catfish and Sheepshead (Freshwater Drum) and fishing the backwaters and sloughs for Bluegills, Sunfish, Crappies, and an occasional Bass. By the time we reached the bridge, they’d kept five Northern’s; two twenty-eight inches, one thirty-two inch, and two in excess of thirty-four inches. I pulled the stringer from the water, readjusted the metal snaps holding each fish on the stringer by poking it through the lower jar so it locked the lower jar to the upper, and put them in the live well with the Bluegills. Snapping the jaws tight kept the Bluegills safe from being lunch for the Pike. I opened up the motor and we headed for “Spooner’s” for breakfast.
At breakfast, I confessed to them it was the most enjoyable fishing trip I’d had in several years and thanked them for going with me.
“We can always go again, several times in fact,” Ray explained, “before we go home.”
We were back home by nine o’clock, cleaning the morning catch. I expected to clean them by myself but was pleasantly surprised.
“We caught ‘em, we clean ‘em,” Carl stated, fully committed to what they saw as a responsibility and the results of their success. No questions asked from either Ray or me.
My cordless, electric fillet knife, fully charged and read to go, was retrieved from the cupboard, a couple of thin-bladed fillet knives, and a sharpening stone from the cupboard in the fish house and we set to work. I separated the thick fillet from each side of the Bluegills, starting the cut just behind the head, down, but not through the backbone, to the tail, and slid them over to Ray and Carl who quickly, using the fillet knives, removed the meaty fillet from the skin. The Northern drew some attention from the boys as they watched me make five cuts and remove the fillet from the back, the tail section, and the sides while leaving the “Y” bones on the carcass. The five pieces removed from the fish, the rest was easy for them; just removing the skin from the flesh.
Carl and Ray were great fishing partners. Not only did they help fillet our catch, but helped clean up. Ray managed the hand pump while Carl rinsed the fillets and put them in the large bowl I kept in the cupboard to use taking fish to the house once they were rinsed. When asked were the entrails and carcasses of the fish were disposed of, I told them I buried them in what used to be the garden. Without hesitation, once finding a shovel, they did the chore for me.
“Keeps the bears from hanging around,” I said, not thinking much of it. It was just a way of life here; keep your garbage out, leave fish guts around, and sort of stinky, enticing material, and you’ll have bears. They live here too.
“You mean like four-footed, big, with large teeth type bears, and not the Chicago Bears type?” squeaked a wide-eyed Ray, clearly, and suddenly aware there were critters in the woods which just might eat him.
“Lions, tigers, and bears; Oh, my!” snickered Carl, taunting his brother.
Ray just glared at him!
Fish entrails buried and shovel put away, I said, sincerely, “Go clean up and many thanks guys, you’re great fishing partners.”
Bright, white teeth gleaming smiles painted their faces as they gave me shy “you’re welcome” and headed toward the house. I wasn’t far behind them, bringing the bowl full of fish fillets.
Elgee and Rick were up and moving around when I walked into the house. Dressed only in shorts, sans underwear, and tennis shoes, caused me to wonder how, with their narrow waists and slim hips, how in the hell did they keep them up? They looked entirely comfortable and at home, as I wanted them to feel. Rick spotted the bowl full of fish fillets and whistled,
“Pretty good catch!”
I nodded, about to comment on Ray and Carl’s success, but Rick continued, “Dad always said a cow could piss in the pasture or a drunk could piss in the gutter and those two could catch a fish in it!”
I decided on fish for lunch, since the fish was fresh and I had a bag of shredded cabbage for coleslaw in the refrigerator, and a bag of French fries in the freezer. I counted out thirty Bluegill fillets and five Northern fillets and set them aside. The rest I’d freeze in packages of twenty Bluegill fillets and five of Northern. I intended sending fish home with Elgee since Claire loved the fish from our lake. She and Bill, and earlier in their marriage with their kids, would come to the lake for a week or so and we’d fish, swim, and generally enjoy the company. David always looked forward to their visit, even though we did have a great deal of company each summer once we moved here. The size of the packages would be just right for her and Elgee for a meal.
Explaining my plan to Elgee prompted Rick to ask how I froze them, “and don’t say freezer.” I told him I vacuum packed them.
“We do the same at home. Where’s the stuff?”
He quickly located the machine and the plastic, plugged it in to warm up, while Elgee gave the fish a final rinse, and sorted them into piles of Bluegill and Northern, counting the fillets as he did. Well, I should sort of qualify that. Elgee was closely supervised by Rick, resting his chin on Elgee’s shoulder, naked chest to naked back, whispering instructions or something in his ear as Elgee sorted. At least I think they were instructions since Elgee would turn his head, whisper something back, and accept a soft kiss to his neck from Rick. From the massive tent in Rick’s shorts, poking down the inside of his right thigh and out, I thought if this were a baseball game, it’d be the seventh inning stretch and it wasn’t the shorts going to be stretched, it’d be Elgee’s rear portal by a good-sized penis-type bat.
I shook my head in amazement. I’d seen Rick naked, but never imagined he was a grower of such proportions. It looked like a beauty! I needn’t wonder how Elgee could take it since, if he was like me accepting David, who was of substantial size as well, it’d be a tight but welcome fit each and every time.
Rick set about bagging and sealing the bags with the food preserver vacuum machine. I moved to help but he waved me aside, informing me he usually did this at home. They had the same type of food packager for freezing and most of their meats or vegetables were frozen the same way. He gave Elgee a kiss, flicked his head toward a chair, inviting him to sit, and take it easy.
Rick reminded me so much of David, not only early on in our relationship, but throughout our entire life together; always considerate, putting my welfare and comfort first.
Elgee mixed up the dressing for the coleslaw, Rick tended to the air fryer I’d recently purchased, feeding it frozen French fries, while I fried the fish in a large iron skillet I kept especially for this purpose. Carl and Ray, for their part, ate, savoring every bite once the meal was served, enjoying the fruits of their catch just a few hours before. In between bites they praised Elgee’s, Rick’s, and my skills at preparing the meal, adding they believed there’s nothing like fish fresh from the lake and served for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I couldn’t agree more!
I was correct in surmising Carl and Ray would opt for a nap after lunch. Arising so early in the morning, the excitement of the expedition and fish caught, and then cleaning the catch was tiring. I felt I could almost join them, but with Rick and Elgee’s assistance (they did most of it), cleaned up after lunch.
They joined me on the porch after we were done, each of the carrying a soda and Elgee carrying an ice tea for me.
“You know,” I began, opening our conversation, “you’re hearing a great deal concerning me in order to know me better, yet I know very little about you, Elgee. I know you said you and Rick met in seventh grade, you’re a couple engaged to be married, and you had your assed tossed out of the house because of it and the fact you’re gay.”
“I don’t know what there is to tell you, Uncle Levi, you don’t already know. You know our family and how strictly conservative they are, both religiously and socially. I guess I knew from maybe fifth grade on, I was different. I didn’t want to be different since what I was told growing up being homosexual, non-white, or being a different religion or going to a different church was wrong, and in most cases, sinful and would condemn me to hell for an eternity. I thought that was a god-awful bunch to understand and accept. I knew if I said anything to anyone in my family I’d be subjected to all sorts of terror.”
Elgee suffered through much of the same fears, doubts, guilt, and homophobic hate I did. abeit in a different time, yet somewhat familiar circumstances. Not only did he fear at home, but going into middle school, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade, presented difficult decisions and challenges for him, as it did me, but his were somewhat ameliorated by the times. He also had the fears of humiliation, ostracizing, bullying, and physical harm by those intolerant of his sexual orientation should he be found out, although on a much lower and covert manner.
Coupled with no support group at home, he soon learned to keep himself in the closet, even as society changed and schools increased educational programs in tolerance, anti-bullying, and acceptance of differences among people. Children of color, who’d long suffered from racism, still had it to contend with in lessor open actions than previous generations had, but it was still there! Gay and lesbian children still suffered, especially from those who justified their actions against them by religious teachings and beliefs. Oh, there were still the pockets of resistance to change and persisted in divisiveness and hateful acts of verbal, written, and physical abuse.
Elgee assumed with over sixty percent of the country approving of same-sex marriage, mixed-race marriages now common place, and the overall change in the attitude toward the LGBTQ community, less that small, but vocal activist opposed to it, he thought being different, gay, would be acceptable in today’s world. The problem would be the opposition by the activists in the minority also included his parents and a large part of his extended family.
“As much as things change,” I interrupted, “some things never seem to.”
“In sixth grade,” Elgee continued, “I decided someday I’d break free, began really concentrating on my school work, and took a foreign language, specifically Spanish. My parents thought my decision to concentrate on my school work was wonderful; not so my choice of language. As much as they harangued me about it, I held my ground and took it anyway. I didn’t mention my decision to break free of the snake pit I existed in.”
His life changed in seventh grade! Toward the end of the first quarter, he was sitting in the cafeteria eating his lunch, when he overheard a conversation in Spanish coming from behind him. Even though he’d had only one year, and now another quarter of the language, he’d really worked hard at learning it and could understand the spoken word fairly well; not fluently but still good enough to find the bathroom and order a meal.
Whoever it was wanted to know who the cute white boy was sitting all alone at the next table. Elgee glanced slyly around and decided they must be talking about him. He really wasn’t alone because there were three others at the table, but none of them sat close enough to him to be “with” him. Basically, he was alone in a cafeteria full of other kids.
He ate slowly, hoping not to make too much noise chewing so he could eavesdrop some more on the conversation behind him. Elgee couldn’t quite catch the next part, but it was followed by some teasing and laughter. Finally one boy, since he decided the group was boys although not all of their voices had changed yet, dared another one, offering a dollar if he had balls enough to talk to the white boy.
“Oh great,” Elgee thought, trying to make up his mind to finish his meal and leave or leave right then.
He tensed as he felt the bench wiggle and move slightly as someone else sat down beside him. Hesitant to look, fearful he’d face a thick-necked, pencil-dick bully intent on getting his pleasure by abusing someone else, specifically him, Elgee continued to concentrate on the food on his tray, meticulously eating, forcing himself to swallow each bite, even though his throat was as dry as a popcorn fart!
The person said nothing to him at first, instead sort of slid closer, crowding him on the bench. Elgee carefully and cautiously moved just far enough to make a little space between him and the interloper. His tormentor moved also, close enough to rest his leg tight against Elgee’s. Elgee made his move again and the fellow moved with him, maintaining the intimate leg contact. He was about to move again when the person next to him warned,
“Pretty soon you’ll run out of bench and end up with that cute ass of yours on the floor.”
The comment brought Elgee’s head up, he turned slowly, to see who would say that about his ass.
Instead of being was met with anger or hate or mockery, he faced the bright, welcoming smile on the face of a good-looking Latino boy, who said simply, “Hi; I’m Enrique Amato De La Fuente. My friends call me Rick and I’m looking forward to really making you my friend.”
Before responding, Elgee carefully looked over the boy called Rick; dark haired, dark eyed, light brown in complexion, about his weight and height, maybe a little taller, and seemingly trim and fit. Elgee wasn’t receiving any vibes that Rick was meaning to harm him, in fact, just the opposite.
Embarrassed such an attractive boy as Rick would even speak to him, Elgee smiled shyly, answering, softly, as he tipped his head bashfully, “Hi! I’m Elgee Moore. My real name is Lyle Gilbert Moore, but I liked to be called Elgee.”
“I like Elgee better than Lyle Gilbert, but any name would be fine with me,” pronounced an almost giddy Rick, thrilled to learn his name.
From then on, Rick was Elgee’s lunch companion, waiting for him to arrive in the lunch room or quickly joining him if he was seated already. It progressed to Rick waiting for Elgee’s bus to arrive in the morning before school and walking him out to his bus after school, to walking together in the halls, hanging around their lockers, and just being together at any opportunity.
Gradually, Rick’s friends began joining them at lunch and other times. Elgee loved it! He not only had Rick as his best friend, but now had a group of other friends who he and Rick could hang with and who’d come to his aid if he needed it. In return, Elgee helped the others with their homework when they needed it. His parents were pleased he had friends, but not pleased those friends were Latino. Other students saw Rick and Elgee as best friends, but Elgee was beginning to see their relationship as something “special,” more than just friends.
Rick, on the other hand, was certain he’d found a boyfriend and would pursue it, but was going to move slowly and let things evolve on its own. He knew he was gay and his family knew as well, along with his friends. Rick was almost certain Elgee was by the way he reacted to his touch or smile or if he stand close enough for their hips, legs, or any part of his body touched Elgee.
Outside of school getting together was a little more difficult. During their developing relationship, Elgee revealed the depth of his family’s prejudices and racism. The two of them decided it’d be better to meet someplace other than at Elgee’s house.
“I thought I’d go crazy by the end of seventh grade,” Rick confessed. “I so much wanted to hug him and kiss him, but I didn’t want to scare him off. I’d lay awake some nights wanting him so bad. It was beginning to feel part of me was missing when he wasn’t with me. He was the first person I wanted to see each day and the last.”
Elgee didn’t really tumble Rick was chasing him like a male dog chasing a bitch in heat. Rick was determined to have Elgee as his boyfriend, a really boyfriend, and not just friend. Elgee really wanted Rick as well, but was uncertain how to go about it. There were time when Rick’s friends or his family when Elgee went to their house, would speak in Spanish, believing he couldn’t understand them. Elgee didn’t acknowledge understanding the language, as much as two years of school Spanish would let him. The last week of school in seventh grade, he overheard one of Rick’s friends ask in Spanish, “Have you had guts enough to get in his pants or give him a ride on Mr. Big?”
Rick snapped back, angered at the remark, “Back off! He’s no slut, he’s my boyfriend," and walked over to join Elgee. A smile brightened his face as he neared his boyfriend.
Elgee reached out, securing Rick’s arm in his hand, leaned over and whispered in Spanish, “If I’d known you wanted to get into my pants or treat me to a ride on your big…you know, I’d would’ve quit wearing underwear.”
Rick’s mouth gaped and he stuttered, shocked, “Why didn’t you tell me you spoke Spanish?”
“You never asked.”
Their relationship ticked up several notches. They decided to go out for cross country track in the fall of their eighth grade. Neither were great athletes, but they could make a contribution to the team, the coach thought and track practice gave them the chance to be together after school. Track members also had to take showers after practice!
I listened carefully to Rick and Elgee relaying how their relationship started and didn’t really expect them to go any further. In fact, I was somewhat taken aback, but masked it well, when they moved on to explain how their relationship continued to develop. I really didn’t think they’d be so revealing, explicit, and detailed. Evidently they felt quite safe and trusting having a gay adult relative to chat with. They progressed, when they were alone together, from kissing and hugging to mutual masturbation, and oral sex.
“It was easier to jack him off then giving him head,” Elgee laughed. “I could only get about half of his cock in my mouth, but enough to make him squirm and finally beg for me stop once he shot, complaining he was too sensitive.”
The fall of their Junior year of high school their cross country team had a home meet. Rick’s parents, as well as Carl and Ray, attended and cheered the boys on. Elgee’s parents, as usual, didn’t bother to attend but were off visiting one of Elgee’s older brothers for the day, telling Elgee it’d be after supper when they returned so he’d have to fix his own. Rick went home with Elgee and, to paraphrase an old saying, “While the cats away, two horny teen boys will fuck!”
Stripped of their clothing, naked, and both hard as railroad spikes, Elgee spent considerable time lubing Rick’s substantial erection, carefully covering all portions, sliding his slick hands up and down the twitching shaft, and paying particular attention to the bulbous, swollen head, the opening wide, readying to discharge it’s frothy, thick offering. Rick told Elgee to stop before he expended too soon. He, and Elgee, wanted that to be inside Elgee, cementing their commitment to loving each other. In turn, Rick made certain Elgee’s gateway was well lubricated and stretched, by using his fingers, so insertion of his large, thick penis would be eased.
“When I knelt between his legs and he wrapped them around my waist, I looked down, the head of my cock nudging his small, wrinkled asshole, I thought I’d never get my cock in there since it looked so big compared the opening I was going to shove it. I was so afraid I’d hurt him and that was the last thing I wanted to do,” confessed Rick.
“I wasn’t all that concerned,” Elgee said. “I thought if we could get that thick head to pop inside, the rest would follow. He’s got a pretty big cock so I figured it might be a bit of an effort. I wasn’t too worried about pain; whatever there would be would be worth it, I thought, if it gave him the pleasure I hoped it would.”
I fully understood his meaning. David was really, really big as well and, from I’d seen of Rick, probably bigger. It took some wiggling and pushing to get him in and then I had to rest to adjust to him. Once he got started, however, I just couldn’t get enough. I always felt so full when he was inside me and so empty when he pulled out.
“I just knew,” Rick said with a smile, “I loved him so much, I’d do whatever he wanted and I also knew he was mine and I was his and that’s the way it was going to be forever.”
He was just starting to describe the euphoria he felt when he came and Elgee did at the same time, when Carl poked his head out of the door and asked, “What time do we have to leave for chicken?”
It was almost four o’clock and serving started at five. It was about a forty-five minute drive and I wanted to beat the rush, if we could.
“Do we wear anything special?” Elgee asked.
I heard Rick whisper in his ear, “How about nothing?”
“No, just put on a tee-shirt, shoes, and socks and it will be fine. It’ll be mostly summer people and tourists so there’s no need to dress up.”
I hoped, noticing neither Elgee or Rick were wearing belts, their shorts would stay put around their slim and trim waists, but I suppose that’s their problem. Although a quick glance at Rick stayed my concerns. His pants were being held up, I should imagine, by a rather substantial, and probably painful the way it was straining against his shorts, by his erection. I doubted he could maintain it all evening, but perhaps he could.
“We’ll take my car!” I announced.
“Shotgun!” claimed Ray.
“Only on the way over,” Carl declared.
Elgee and Rick could have cared less, they were comfortable in the back seat. I didn’t look in the interior rear view mirror; I used the outside ones.
“Where we going, Uncle Levi?” Elgee asked.
“Garrison, over along Lake Mille Lacs.”
A veteran’s organization put on an all you can eat chicken dinner once a week. It came with French fries or potato salad, soft drink or water or coffee, coleslaw, and a slice of bread, buttered. Dessert was extra. Everything was paid for when you went in the door and they gave you a red poker-chip-sized token if you paid for dessert. You laid it on your placemat and it came with the chicken. Only three choices; pie, chocolate cake, or vanilla ice cream. Three kinds of pie; apple, cherry, or blueberry.
God, that meal is so good! It is truly worth every cent you spend. My total, for the five of us plus desert, was on the south side of seventy-five dollars, but I gave them one hundred bucks. They could use the money and appreciated it. I figured with four healthy, hungry boys, they’d probably eat that much anyway. A stuffed pup couldn’t have been as full as they were when we left.
They were relatively quiet on the way home. We arrived shortly after seven-thirty and while they scuttled around hitting the bathrooms (they drank a great deal of soda), I fixed myself a brandy and took up residence on the porch. I’d had but one small sip of my beverage and all four boys walked out and joined me; not in the brandy but on the porch.
Elgee settled himself sitting between Rick’s spread and outstretched legs, his head resting up against Rick’s chest, and pulled Rick’s arms around him. Ray and Carl sat on the floor facing me. I wasn’t going to get by without continuing the story from the night before. In fact, Ray brought the subject up.
“Okay; why was Cracker living where you were going to room?”
“If you remember,” I began, “I was shocked to my drawers when Cracker appeared at the door and announced it was where he lived. I was more surprised when he hugged me, turned his head toward the interior of the house, and shouted, ‘Poppa David; he’s here!”
I didn’t have a clue or a chance to ask who “Poppa David” was since Cracker sort of peeked around me and asked, hesitantly, “Who are they, Levi?”
“It’s my cousin Claire and her husband Bill. They brought me out here. Remember me talking about them last summer?”
“Hi,” he said, still peeking around me, “I’m Mattie Coleman.”
Mattie? Was it really his name or what?
I was confused, befuddled, almost stricken dumbfounded. I heard a very familiar voice ask, “Mattie, please ask our guests to come in.”
I looked down the short hall and King was walking toward me, a wide, welcoming smile on his face.
Mattie looked up at me, giggling; “I bet you’re surprised, aren’t you?”
Surprised wasn’t the word for it. My breath became rapid, matched by the increase in heartbeat, my head grew lighter, sweat began to bead on my forehead, and my knees began to shake. My god, I felt a panic attack creeping up on me because coming toward me was the man I thought of night after night, hoping he’d be single, knowing we’d never see each other again after the summer at the carnival, and now discovering he was married, with at least one son. Shit, I’d fallen for a married man!
But, was he? He said Cracker came to live with him three years ago. Did it mean he’d been married and then his wife died or they were divorced and maybe Cracker was sent to his father? It couldn’t be marriage since Cracker was definitely of mixed race and mixed racial marriages were illegal in many states. Maybe he was straight, knocked up some girl, and Cracker ended up with his biological father by being sent here by Social Services. That had to be it; King was straight and his illegitimate son was sent to live with him after being found in horrendous circumstances. I fell for a straight guy who bedded at least one woman. What the hell would he want with me; a gay, skinny kid, just starting college?
Was there no justice in this world?